As some of our long-time readers (bless all 4 of you!) might have noticed, I mentioned on several occasions that I am French. And while that is true, it is not entirely accurate. I am of French nationality, and French is my native language, but I do not have any French blood. Indeed both my parents immigrated as teenagers.
So my blood is half Portuguese on my mother's side, from a lovely region called Alentejo (in the South, full of olive and orange trees), and half Indian on my father's side. But not simply Indian from India, noooooo.
My father's family is Tamil ethnically (from the region Tamil Nadu, in the South, capital Chennai), but they immigrated long ago to a small island in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Madagascar, named Mauritius Island. I was also born in London and raised in Brussels, but that's another story.
Tonight is beginning is a 5-day celebration called Diwali, the festival of lights.
Light to help us drive away the darkness and ignorance and to awaken the light within ourselves.
The house is cleaned, small oil candles are lit everywhere, and many sweets are prepared to share with others. In the evening, an offering is made to the goddess Lakshmi and the god Ganesh.
Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth and prosperity and also personifies beauty and the arts. Ganesh is the Lord of Wisdom and the remover of obstacles. I wish you all smooth passage on the road to accomplishments.
It is also the beginning of the Hindu New Year. The Goddess of Good Luck will visit the homes that are brightly lit and the children will receive a new piece of clothing or a new toy.
Let us give thanks for the good things in our lives: our parents, our children, our friends who often become our families, the roof over our heads and the food on our tables.
I wish you strength and compassion to be the best person that you can. It all starts with you.
Much love to all,