She asks me, “Do you celebrate Halloween over in India? Any such celebrations?”
I kept staring in amazement. Lady, do you want to know? Do you really, really want to know?
Well dear readers, I’m not sure about the rest of our country. But yes, we do have a “Halloween” celebrated in Goa, very grand and funny!
November is usually a very busy month for the folks dwelling in the village of Navelim. all getting prepared for the grand feast of Our Lady of Rosary. The houses and the village streets are lit up with colorful lights, the whole huge area around the Navelim Church is occupied for the fair – A huge fair!
Prior to the feast comes the Halloween’s day, about the time when the excitement for the whole months celebrations are at its peak.
It was a lovely November day moderately cold, sweet, pleasing to the senses. As always, the people began getting ready for the months celebrations with cleaning the houses, gardens, decorating the village streets, making the best arrangements to welcome the November guests.
The joy of feast & celebrations often takes over the bleakness of the “All souls day”. The young and the old remain so busy listing down their wishes and getting the best out of that which is available.
The carpets, table cloths, pillow covers were washed and put out for drying. The gardens were cleaned, groomed and pots well arranged. Not to forget, at the same time the Hindu families get prepared for Tulsi Vivah for which they decorate the courtyard where Tulsi is planted. The Christian families decorate the front yards where they have the holy cross. The ribbons and chain lights were already pulled across the roads and over the chapel.
The same day was Halloween. The darkness had fallen. The village was silent. The old were tired. Nothing except the sound of breeze and the crackles of leaves could be heard. The village was blessed by the angel spirits of sleep.
Before the early dawn, the villagers were up & only welcomed by a sudden shock. They all looked amused & perplexed. They called out one another, yelled, screamed. They ran helter skelter on the road from their houses to the church and back. Nobody had any answer. Was the village attacked by the ghosts?
What’s happening you ask? A gang of mischievous village youths played a Halloween trick. They picked up & mixed up the clothes meant for drying and put them all over the electric poles, the banyan trees, the roof tops. They picked up the vases & pots from the gardens and circled and lined them up on the road junction. They painted skeletons on the compound walls of the neighborhood houses. The motor bikes had the tires punctured. The ribbons meant for decorations were tied up to the street dogs tails.
They made the skeletons & old man statures & dressed them with some of the clothes belonging to the people who left them out on the strings. Whatever their hands could catch from the peoples houses were laid on the road, hung on the trees, on the electric poles and the roof tops.
The village was left in utter chaos. Then began the discussions, arguments, some acting like detectives gathering clues about who would be it. This is a true story from the village of Navelim.The incident happened once that year, but caught the memory of the villagers so strong that every year during this time, the villagers take extra care of their belongings & stay cautious!
The mischief was truly amusing & therefore, reminds us that ghosts can be funny too!
HAPPY HALLOWEENS Ya Alllll!!!!