Shivaratri in Thrissur (Vanessa Gao)

Today we went to see a religious festival in Thrissur, and the whole experience just blew me away. The festival took place in the front courtyard of a temple. When we arrived, vendors have already set up their stalls; all around us people are hustling this way and that. About half an hour later the dance performance marched into the courtyard: performers spun huge, sparkly treelike towers, while bands played and dancers performed what I could only assume is some type of traditional dance. The crowds were wild, people of all ages dancing around and shouting in glee. The richness of the sounds, colors, and emotions overwhelmed me as much as they moved me--the people around us might not all lead well-off lives, yet their happiness is so pure, their faces so carefree, it convinces me that this country and her people are able to survive anything, and are off to a bright and promising future.