Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Devi's Day

This afternoon, I went to a puja -- or pooja -- on behalf of one of my students. Devi's birthday is today, so everyone gathered in her home to worship and celebrate. She's on the left with two of her friends.A puja involves the worship of one or more Hindu gods. One corner of the dining room in Devi's apartment had been set aside and decorated with a string of lights and various plants and food. A priest sat in another corner of the room. Each person present knelt before him while he sprinkled flower petals on their head and wound a red string around their right wrist. The small round glowing picture on the floor was the object of worship today. I heard several different names of who it was -- Vishnu, Durga, and Devi were all mentioned -- so I'm not sure who was being honored.
Though the puja was given in celebration of Devi, she and the other women were working very hard in the kitchen! Here, Durga and Jasoda were helping prepare food for guests.Naina went around with more helpings of the delicious curry.
This was my plate. On the upper left is a dish made of rice, coconut, milk, sugar, and butter. Beside it on the left is "pickle." I've learned that Bhutanese people have all kinds of things they call "pickle." Some are like what we call salsa. This was more of a cilantro flavored cabbage slaw.
On the lower part of the plate we had a collection of fruit -- papaya, apple, sugar cane, and grape. Next is roti, a fried bread that is yummy. Beside it, on the right, is vegetable curry.

I sat beside my friends, Netra and Radhika. These men welcomed me at the table. They enjoyed practicing their English with me. They're getting very good!
I'm a lefty, and it's hard to eat right-handed. In most cultures, it is very rude to eat with your left hand. I'm able to handle a spoon pretty well, and I'm learning to pick up food with my fingers, too.
Maybe the best part was bringing home bowls of delicious food to share with Tim and Andrei.Dhanibad! "Thank you" to my wonderful Bhutanese friends for sharing this special meal with me. And happy birthday, Devi!


Anonymous said...

bowing to a man??????? We as christians are only to bow to GOD

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry this posting gave the impression that I bow to anyone except our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I did not participate in the puja in any way except to share the food and chat with the other guests. Building loving relationships is a big part of my ministry.

-- Cathy