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Day 28 – Festival

Festival

Preparations for the festival of Kanwar Mela, orange flags hang on the route, orange-clad pilgrims will follow, walk miles, carrying precious pots of holy water, pots and water must never touch the ground. Single pilgrims join together, teams string orange water pots to poles bedecked by orange flags, carry poles aloft, miles upon miles, poles only rested on makeshift sticks and trees, never to the earth must rest. On every route, orange-tented stations give rest, food, water and bandage bleeding, bare feet, replenish orange body paint. Devotees may walk hundreds of miles, from holy source to village, a test and mark of both devotion and manhood, occasionally womanhood, both young and old, devoted to bring blessed waters back to their temples. Along roads, dusty and hot, orange lines march, chanting and singing, keeping sprits up and with them, ecstatic trance, intoxicating, intoxicated by the fervour, to collapse exhausted at a resting station until the next chant goes up, then once more to celebrate, happiness once more on faces. A macro-festival, strung out along hundreds of miles, thousands of pilgrims, a micro-festival in each temple, thousands of shrines, a personal-festival, each and every one of thousands.
A personal festival celebration today, festival of the day of birth, mine, another year.

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