Festival Time (Julia Cunningham) *video inside

Julia Cunningham '13 shares her experience at a festival in the city of Thrissur.

Travel is about adding to your experiences and enriching what you know. Yesterday was entirely about sensory enlightenment. We witnessed a local festival celebrating a Hindu god. It was HOT and it wasn’t even noon yet. The first thing I noticed was the sound of approaching drums from the distance. As the procession got closer and came off the street a crowd of young men formed, chanting, shouting, dancing. They passed right in front of us on their way to the performance area where they were drenched in sweat as they began their energy rhythmic dancing. But what was the most impressive were the “flowers”:  giant cone-shaped structures on heads and shoulders using stool-like contraptions. There were neon reds, bright oranges, lime greens, and whites that could easily be seen from a long distance away. To fully take in the beautiful giant sights I had to look skywards, which is when I noticed the sky was tinged grey-blue as if the sun were not out, belying the oppressive heat that we all felt. The air smelled of the ink used to stamp our hands with Mehndi or henna designs – our first lesson in bargaining thanks to Jay. The entire festival was quite an experience. I was a little surprised that, despite the fact that it was not a tourist attraction, several vendors were selling Angry Birds balloons, continuing the juxtaposition theme during out trip. During our reflection session, Felicity Williams’15 expressed how she felt like an outsider looking in, a little like an intruder while at the festival. But, it was because of our position as a respectful outsiders looking in, that I was able to create wonderful memories of having a unique experience during my last year at Peddie.