Giulia Grazia Gonnella on Year Program from Italy and hosted in Vadodara chapter has shared her experience in terms of Indian Religion and Festivals.  

Since I’m here, I’ve noticed how much important religion is for Indian people. My host family is Jain and I’m having the possibility to discover, month after month, how deep and completely new this religion is. How? Taking part in every festival, religious ceremony and ritual.

During Paryushan, for example, I followed the “rules”: I didn’t eat food outside (neither at school) and I avoided onions, potatoes, garlic and all the vegetables that grow underground, for eight days. I also had the chance to visit various temples, do puja and celebrate some of my relatives who were on fast during the festival. Day after day I’m learning how to live like a Jain, and everything that seemed a challenge and something impossible for me, now has become everyday life.

But the fact that my family is Jain doesn’t mean that I’m not involved in other religions also. Thanks to my host family I’m taking part in Hindu festival as well, like Ganesh Chaturthi; my host parents are letting me enjoy and living every single festival in India.

I’m really glad for this possibility I have: I’m never tired to discover and make new experiences!

Talking about festivals, I find Navratri as one of the most beautiful events being celebrated in India. After the 9th day I missed so much getting ready with my host mum, choosing dupattas, chanya-choliand all the accessories. I’m still missing garba, fantastic singers, grounds and…crowd also!

Then, there came Diwali festival: house cleaning, sweets and shopping were just the beginning! I learnt, with my mum, how to make ghughraand some other typical diwali dishes. I was getting ready as much as I can for one of the most important festivals and really looked forward to experience and enjoy as much as I can.