Monday, August 10, 2009

Hare Krishna

I like going to the festivals and celebrations of cultures other than my own. I especially like going if there's music, food, dance, and costumes. I can play all day in another culture's atmosphere Especially if there's music, food, dance, and costumes!

I went to the Festival of India yesterday (Biffy calls it the Hare Krishna Festival). Before and during the parade, it rained and misted all over the place. But as soon as the parade reached its festival grounds, the rain stopped and the sun came out. It was a small event, especially for Vancouver -- only three floats -- but it was joyous and enthusiastic. And I had a good time.

There was a cooking demonstration booth set up, and I got myself a good seat once I realized that a lot of the food is geared to accommodate those with food allergies -- especially gluten, eggs, and lactose -- and that I know so many, many people with those food allergies. I wanted to learn what I could about the seasonings as well as the ingredients...where to get them, how to use them...did someone say asaphoetida? yes she certainly did! Every dish, it seems, is made specially with particular balance to the ingredients so as not to upset the natural rhythm of the body that will be digesting it. Cooking, for followers of Krishna, is not just cooking -- it's a form of worship, as well as a code of conduct and a set of philosophical rules.

The food was delicious. I really loved the way the seasonings introduced themselves to my palate and made themselves at home among my taste buds. I could dine like that frequently. Not permanently, though. I like my meat, my onions, my garlic, my eggs, my raw veggies; and none of those can be found in the diet of this particular culture. I would not make a good follower of the basic philosphies. Much too independent. And determined to stay that way.

And, being a drummer/percussionist, of course I like the music, although it has no meaning for me other than that it's got a good beat, and I can dance to it. I got talking to a mridang player about his drum, and one of those is going on my wish list. And the costumes -- lively and colorful and (mostly) comfortable-looking (and at my age, yes, comfort is of paramount importance!).

One of the absolute best things about living in the Greater Vancouver area in the summertime is the plethora of cultural festivals we have. We get to be short-time exchange students almost at whim.

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