Sunday, August 12, 2012

Happy Janmastami!

We've always been a little bit envious of other bike travelers' descriptions of getting invited to people's houses for a huge dinner party or participating in a wild village festival on the countryside. But when you're traveling in a country where vodka and meat are an essential part of the diet and you're a non-drinking vegetarian it just easier to keep a bit more distance to the locals whom you'd probably deeply offend by refusing to eat or drink anything they have to offer. (Yes, even the famous borscht soup is often made with beef broth.) 

But it just so happened that this year Sri Krishna Janmastami, the birthday of Krishna and therefore one of the biggest events in the Vaishnava calendar, was on Friday August 11th, the same day we were in Vinnytsia. And it also so happened that there's a Hindu temple in the city, where they were celebrating Janmastami. (OK, maybe it wasn't a coincidence, we had planned our schedule a little bit so we'd get to take part in the festival…) 

Most of our readers have probably never taken part in a Hindu festival, but this one went on from 6 PM to 2 AM and included a lot of singing and dancing as well as a huge 14-course feast at midnight. A vegetarian feast, of course. We stumbled to our hotel at 1.30 AM, high on all the sugar and blissful that we had finally found the right people to party with. 

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