World Religion
Matt's Holi Day

Matt's Holi Day
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 3 to 5
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   4.44

     challenging words:    amid, avatar, blue-eyed, bustled, cowherd, dandelion, dark-eyed, embodiment, feathery, marketplace, midday, mirth, Peach-colored, pelting, sacred, vendors

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Matt's Holi Day
By Colleen Messina

1     Matt was excited to be in India. He never thought he would go so far from home, but then his sister married an Indian. Now she lived in Calcutta. Matt hadn't seen her for a year. Matt's parents gave him his ticket as a high school graduation present, and he had arrived late last night.
2     This morning, Matt watched the sunrise from his sister's balcony. Peach-colored, feathery clouds wafted across the pale sky as lightly as dandelion fluff. Matt could see the black silhouettes of mango groves on the horizon. It was already hot. Matt looked out at the street below. He marveled that it was busy already, but everyone liked to get up early in India.
3     "Good morning Matt! Do you have jet lag?" teased his sister, Sharon. She looked lovely in a light, pink wrapper. Her blue eyes danced with mirth. She was so glad her little brother had come to visit.
4     "Yes, a little! I can't believe I am here. It is so busy in the streets already!" Matt said.
5     Matt watched the masses of people in the marketplace. Some already shouted the prices of their wares. Vendors sold everything from ripe mangoes to silk saris in the open-air stalls that lined the dirt road. Women draped in swirling red, blue, and gold saris bustled through the streets. Flaps from their saris whipped behind them like bright flags. Here and there, a holy man wandered aimlessly, holding out a cup to beg for his breakfast. Dust rose in reddish puffs around everyone's smooth, brown feet. Cows lumbered along as if they knew they were sacred. The air smelled like sweat, dirt, and animals. It was a warm, strong smell.
6     "Come and have breakfast, and we'll talk. I have a story to tell you because today is a special day. And not just because you have come to visit," said Sharon.
7     Sharon was twenty-three, blond, and blue-eyed. She had fallen in love with her husband, a dark-eyed, dark-haired Indian, when they were both students at a university in Denver. They married last May and then shocked the family when they announced that they were moving to India! Mom had laughed at first, saying that Sharon would look like a marshmallow amid dark chocolates. However, Sharon had quickly settled into her new life. Matt could tell she loved her new country.
8     "I want to tell you a story about Krishna," Sharon continued as she served Matt a plate of hot eggs and buttered toast.
9     Matt sat down and began to eat. He had heard some Indian stories from Sharon's letters, but Krishna was someone new.

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