Candles, kids, and a sacrificial goat

We recently celebrated the holiday of Diwali by visiting and spending a couple evening hours hanging out at a nearby Hindu temple. There was plenty to see (including a goat that mysteriously arrived at one point) and though there were a lot of people coming and going, the atmosphere felt very relaxed. We watched visitors to the temple light and place candles on the ground in a space open to the night sky for a while, and then we sat in the center of the temple and did a bit of people-watching. Unsurprisingly, it didn’t take long for us to be surrounded with people who were far more interested in us than the other way around. Catie, Denise, and Sarah were a hit with all the Bengali kids while I met and talked with a number of men (as it always seems to happen in this country). A few guys sat and spoke with me for quite a long time, and with the exception of a travel agent who would not stop pestering me, I enjoyed the conversation a great deal.

One of the young men I met was named Alpon, and though he couldn’t have been older than I was, it turned out he was actually a priest of the temple. His dad was a priest there as well and his little brother (who was playing “find the two taka bill” with Denise) will be too someday. Hindu priesthood is clearly the family business. Alpon told me about the holiday and explained what some of the celebratory things around us all meant (including the fact that the aforementioned goat would be sacrificed at midnight).┬áHe was very nice and extremely generous, offering sodas to us and insisting on paying for a few posters of Hindu gods that Catie and I were looking at on our way out.

I also happened to learn that in addition to his priestly title, Alpon has managed to become the self-proclaimed “pool champion of Bangladesh”. He told me that he’s usually at the billiards club around 4:00 pm, so I’m planning on meeting him there sometime (and taking that priest down).

Chittagong, Bangladesh (Oct 17, 2009)
Chittagong, Bangladesh (Oct 17, 2009)
Chittagong, Bangladesh (Oct 17, 2009)
Chittagong, Bangladesh (Oct 17, 2009)
Chittagong, Bangladesh (Oct 17, 2009)
Chittagong, Bangladesh (Oct 17, 2009)
Chittagong, Bangladesh (Oct 17, 2009)
Chittagong, Bangladesh (Oct 17, 2009)
Chittagong, Bangladesh (Oct 17, 2009)
Chittagong, Bangladesh (Oct 17, 2009)
Chittagong, Bangladesh (Oct 17, 2009)
Chittagong, Bangladesh (Oct 17, 2009)

Photos taken in Chittagong, Bangladesh on October 17, 2009.

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2 Responses to “Candles, kids, and a sacrificial goat”

  1. Leah says:

    Dan, your photographs are A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!!! I feel like I’m stalking you a little bit, but I LOVE THIS BLOG. Seriously….so proud of you two! I hope you’re feeling better! Post more Post more!!!

  2. Dan Bretl says:

    Aw Leah it makes me so happy to hear that you’re loving this blog! Please continue your stalking and I will try to keep the content up to a high standard!

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