Diversity and light

Today is 31 October.    According to my friend Wikipedia, it is the 304th day of the year (305th this year because it is a leap year) in the Gregorian calendar, and there are 61 days remaining until the end of the 2012.  It is also Halloween in many places, with all that entails.

Apparently, it is also National coat of Arms day in Ecuador (oh I just love Wikipedia for teaching me my new things for many days).

And of course, it is the final day of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  There is lots of discussion about that around me.

The day has many significances to us, in our different locations and cultures, but also in our own sense of where we are at a particular time.  Over here in Myanmar, we have been marking Thadingyut, which brings the three months of “Buddhist Lent” to a close.  Yesterday evening I was welcomed home in the evening by rows of tiny candles around the gate, down the drive and around the house.

Houses nearby were bathed in light from candles and fairly lights.  Fireworks louder than thunder crashed across the sky.  The full moon sat heavily behind a mist of light cloud.  There was a real air of festivity and spirituality around.  The period of Buddhist Lent begins with the Waso full moon which usually falls in July and continues through the monsoon.  This is a time when people are busy tilling their land and planting the paddyfields, and monks will not travel but stay at their monasteries.  During this time, it is believed generally to be inauspicious to marry, to move house or to enter generally into a new venture.

Hence the feeling of thanksgiving and celebration in the air over Thadingyut.

This reminds me that I have a great deal to be thankful for.  I am living and working in an amazing place at an amazing time, and able to experience such rich diversity.  And even more thankful to be here after the last round of checks and scares.

Happy Thadingyut!

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