Celebrating Diwali in Pensacola
A friend shared a flyer with us and said “I thought you might be interested in this.” He was right – it was a celebration of Diwali, and it would take place in a nearby Presbyterian church.
First, though, we had to buy tickets, which meant finding the Indian grocery store. This was a really good thing, as AdventureMan wanted some good hot chutneys, and I was hoping I could find some of the dark chana dal that I used to buy so inexpensively in Doha and Kuwait, but found myself ordering from Amazon.com because I couldn’t fine them in Pensacola. I knew it! I just wasn’t looking in the right place!
My first Diwali was magical. It was held on Al Fardan Gardens, in Doha, and all the Indian families strung thousands of white lights and lined the sidewalks with votives, so it was like a fairy land. By this late in the year, it can cool down enough to make the thought of walking inviting. To walk among the lights and to stop here and there for some truly divine cooking was delightful.
Diwali in Pensacola? Whoda thunk it?
As it turns out, Pensacola has a substantial Indian population, tightly woven together and cooperating in times of celebration and times of sorrow. Last night was a little of both – the Diwali celebration had been planned and organized for several months, but a sudden death of one of the long time members on the day of the Diwali celebration saddened the day somewhat.
While all grieved, the show went on. Lots and lots of lively traditional dances, a few Bollywood numbers, and a wonderful sword dance that reminded us of similar sword dances we had seen in the Gulf, performed only by men, while these were performed by women.
After all that energetic dancing, we were ready to eat. Butter Chicken, chicken korma, dal, rice, all kinds of good things provided by one of the newer Indian restaurants in town, the India Palace.
I never dreamed when we came to Pensacola that there would be an opportunity to celebrate Diwali.