Hi, friends! It’s that time of the year again when a large number of holidays happen back to back all over the world! With so many celebrations coming up, it’s hard to choose where I want to hop to next! In the United States we all know about Halloween, Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas and then New Year but did you know there are also plenty of other widely celebrated holidays happening around the same time? It’s a busy time of the year everywhere!
First I hopped over to India in late October for a colorful holiday all about the triumph of good over evil. Do you know what holiday I went to experience?
Diwali or Dipawali is the festival of lights in India and is their most important holiday. The name Diwali comes from Indian families setting out rows (avali) of clay lamps (deepa) to symbolize inner light triumphing over darkness . The celebration lasts five days with each day requiring a different ritual. My favorite day is the second day when many people create rangoli, or intricate design patterns made of colored powder or sand.
Eager to learn about this beautiful art, I was hopping around asking where I could find the best rangoli artist in India. Everyone pointed me in the same direction, to an older man who occasionally taught his craft at a nearby university. When I saw the beauty of his work, I was so impressed that I knew I had found a true master.
The administrator of the university told me that many people from around the world came to see his art and that one university in the USA had even asked him if he would be interested in trying out teaching via video for a semester.
“That’s amazing! Is he going to do it?” I asked excitedly.
They shook their head no. “You see, he’s deaf and can communicate in Indian or American Sign Language, however, their campus doesn’t have staff who can interpret either.”
I hopped up and down in excitement. “I know ASL and can help him translate his class over video. In fact, my colleagues would be able to help him in the future if all goes well and he’d like to keep video teaching!”
After a very successful class I linked the American university up with Interpreters and Translators, Inc. so that they could have access to our ASL video interpreters. Now this masterful artist can continue teaching students across the ocean from the comfort of his hometown in India!
After one successful holiday trip, I decided to hop over to Mexico next for Día de los Muertos or the Day of the Dead. This holiday lasts two days and is a very important in Mexico as it is when families can reunite with the spirits of their departed loved ones.
The first day, Nov 1st, is dedicated to the souls of departed children. The second day is for the souls of adults and all the deceased to reunite with their families. Families create alters filled with special items, photographs or foods to honor their dead and marigolds are used to help guide the spirits to their respective alters.
Once again, I was on the hunt to meet artists who really take this holiday to the next level. I contacted a few Mexican cultural centers and universities, and, was blown away by their Day of the Dead presentations. “It’s been so good to show you our work because we are actually video conferencing with a few different European chamber of commerce ambassadors tomorrow. We may be invited to teach some of our Day of the Dead traditions to their schools or artisanal programs. We would love to have professional interpreters available for anyone who needs them!” I hopped up and chirped, “I’d be happy to help!”
It’s amazing how so many different people around the world can now connect and learn from each other thanks to the internet! Not everyone is as fortunate as me and can hop around the world all the time after all! Additionally, not everyone can communicate in every language either! But that’s why it’s great to know about the benefits of using a translator or interpreter. I can’t wait to see who I’ll meet that can benefit from translation next! Until next time, friends, enjoy whatever upcoming holidays you’re celebrating!
 National Geographic – Diwali