October 6, 2008

Dussehra Hindu Festival

Hindu Festival

Yesterday was sunny and a bit less cold - perfect weather for the Mylne's Court Manglers to take to The Meadows for our weekly football kickabout. We had enough people for 7-on-7, quite impressive for a pick-up game of footy. It got a little more serious this week, but it was still all in good fun. Team Super Awesome beat Team Super Cool in sudden death 11-10. Per tradition, we stopped in Doctors on the way home for lunch. After all that running about, I took a well-deserved nap. Around 6:00pm I woke up to a small group of people with tambourines, singing Indian songs outside my window. I watched them dance up and down the Royal Mile, and thought it was a kind of pathetic parade of only nine people...so I went back to bed. About a half hour later, I woke up again to a full-fledged fleet of bagpipers and drummers. I looked out my window and saw a real parade going by: horse-drawn carriages, floats of Indian Idols, people dressed up as Indian Gods and demons... I had a great view, only three stories up form street-level, overlooking the parade route.

Dussehra Parade

This reminds me of "A Little Princess"


Then I get this text from Laura: "wanna go see some fireworks?" I believe the correct answer to that is always yes! The parade was ending at the top of Calton Hill for The Hindu Festival of Dussehra, so we met up with a few other Mylne's Court residents atop the hill. The views from the top were incredible of the castle at sunset with this orange glow about the whole city. There were three 25-foot-tall efigies at the top: they represent the evil King Ravana and his two brothers. FUN FACT:  The efigies were constructed by the inmates of Saughton Prison in Edinburgh (three years ago, they ran out of funding for the statues, so the prisoners made them for free, and have been doing so every year since). The festival celebrates the story of how Lord Rama and his army rescue his wife, Sita, and behead the evil King Ravana.

View of Edinburgh Castle from the top of Calton Hill

Burning the effigies

We all sat on the National Monument...which was not an easy task. There are no steps, just a 12 foot cement brick wall. It's about seven feet up to the first big block step, with the only thing to help you climb being a tiny little ledge, no more than 2 inches wide, and that ledge is about 5 feet off the ground. The monument is an unfinished imitation of the Parthenon (because Scotland is known as the Modern Athens). As it got dark, they lit the three efigies on fire and set off fireworks. Our seats on the Parthenon gave us a fantastic view of the burning efigies and exploding fireworks above the pillars of the monument. Then we all dismounted the Parthenon and filed into a tent for some dancing to Indian music. There was also Indian food, but it was too pricey for us.
Fireworks over the Scottish Monument

After a good deal of Indian dancing, we walked back down Calton Hill and then back up the hill that is The Royal Mile, to our home. Instead of stopping at MC we went all the way up to the castle Esplanade. The castle is so haunting at night, all lit up and quiet, free from all the tourists bustling about. We walked all the way up to the castle doors and then a coin was thrown at Derek. We joked about ghosts, but discovered that the guards were just inside the doors, chucking coins at us. They found it amusing how the starving students scrambled for a 5p coin. One guard opened the door and simply said "boo" and we all laughed. They continued to throw money at us, which we gladly scooped up, and they made ghostly "oooooooooo" sounds. Mark asked them for a job. I asked them for a picture. So four large men dressed in camo, with huge machine guns stepped out from behind the castle doors and posed for a picture with us. I jokingly said "don't worry, I'll tag you all on facebook."  

MC and the Castle Guards

Finally, we walked back down to MC, but the fire alarm was going off, and had been for 15 minutes. Everyone was gathered in the courtyard and firemen were running about. Apparently, the tenants of ES 813 had left a pot of food on the stove.. tsk tsk. They weren't around to own up to their mistake. After they turned off the alarm, most everyone went back inside, but we remained in the courtyard catching up with friends about the festival and waiting to catch the culprits of ES 813...while we were out there, the fire alarm went off three more times. No one evacuated though, because the fireman quickly disabled the alarm each time, but it was rather humorous.  
At this point in the evening, 9:00pm, I was starving, and scrounged up some dinner. Then, we ended the evening with our weekly movie night in the common room. We watched "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang"... really funny, but seriously messed up. It was a pretty eventful day, and the best part was that I didn't have to plan any of it! And it was all free! In fact, I actually made 5p!

No comments: