lunes, 12 de mayo de 2014

Diwali or the Festival of Lights

This is a National Geographic video on Diwali, or the Festival of Lights, in India. It's a five-day celebration that includes food, fireworks, colored sand, and special candles and lamps.

Self-study activity:
Watch the video and answer the questions about it.

The activity is suitable for intermediate students.

1 When is Diwali held?
2 What does Diwali commemorate?
3 What is the best moment of the day to experience Diwali?
4 What's the problem if you visit the temples late in the day?
5  What does the lotus blossom represent?
6 What do families usually do on this day?
7 What do you find in Indian cities to celebrate Diwali?

You can check your answers by reading the transcript below.

At any time of year, a visitor to India can be overwhelmed by its beauty and color. But a visitor in late fall is especially fortunate. The temperature will have cooled down, the monsoons will have not yet begun, and Diwali – the festival of lights –is at hand.
Diwali is to many Indians what Christmas is to Christians. In essence, it commemorates the victory of the forces of light over the forces of darkness.
To experience it fully, get up before dawn and head for the flower markets.
Here, flower vendors work feverishly to create garlands of fragrant jasmine that Indians will use to adorn their homes. By dawn they’ll be sold out.
Next head for one of the temples, but go early…later on in the day, they’ll be packed.
On your way over, you may see a curious sight: People hunched in front of their doorways, pouring colored sand on the ground. The sand takes the shape of a lotus blossom, a symbol of welcome. And today, millions of symbols of welcome will grace the nation’s doorways.
Indeed, Diwali is all about sharing. If you’re staying in a private home, don’t be surprised if the neighbours show up with plates of delicious holiday treats.
It’s also customary for families to go to the temples together on this day. They often dress in fine new outfits purchased especially for Diwali.
And if their outfits inspire you, head for a Sari shop. Shops are open on Diwali, and Indian silks are justifiably famous for their beauty. They’re just one of the ways India spruces up and gets into the holiday spirit.
This is an occasion for all of us to rejoice and be with the family and enjoy all the good things in life. So we buy good clothes and make good food.
And everywhere, there are lights! If you head to major commercial districts throughout India, you’ll find colorful displays, comparable to Christmas lights in western cities.
Some cities also put on spectacular public displays of fireworks, like this one in Delhi.
But no matter where you are, there are smaller, more intimate fireworks displays.
A long day of celebrations is coming to an end.
And it’s going out with a bang!