Altruistic Celebrate Gandhiwarming '11 (Yes, Really)

The Dupont Circle area was blessed yesterday with the second annual Gandhiwarming! Altruistic knitters gathered to drape the Mohandas Gandhi statue at Massachusetts Avenue and Q and 21st streets N.W. with a hat, scarf and flower garland -- plus offer hats and scarves to those who need them.

According to event founder Tippy Tippens' Gandhiwarmer blog, He Looked So Cold!:

I got this idea while a graduate student at Pratt in 2003, walking by Gandhi in Union Square -- in the winter the poor thing looks so cold; he's wearing sandals and draped in bronzed homespun cloth....

Early in 2009 I learned how to knit so that I may help Gandhi be a little warmer in the winter by making him a wool scarf and hat....

For the first Gandhiwarmer in NYC, my knit group and I, as well as generous, giving people in Richmond, Va., and NYC donated hats and scarves for passers-by who needed [them]; this was such a wonderful success!! (Also turned out to be the coldest day of the year! brrrrr...)

2010's event was held at the Union Square statue. This year, it was all about the District.

"I chose D.C. for this year's warming as the country is so divided politically and D.C. being the heart of politics, we wanted to give a little piece of warmth, joy and simplicity of giving to the District and thus the rest of the country," Tippens -- who lives in New Orleans -- said in an e-mail. "Gandhi being a leader and inspiration of peaceful change is a comfort and a beacon in our tumulutous, sometimes change-resistant world."

D.C.'s Sunday Gandhiwarming also offered hats and scarves to those in need, "in celebration of [Gandhi's] inspiring and altruistic work," the group said on Facebook. A bansuri player performed and participants lit diwa candles (small candles in bowls) as part of a giving ceremony. About 40-50 people attends.

The Gandhi statue on Embassy Row stands 8'8", so he got a custom-made hat just for himself. Unless there are any needy giants out there, we're guessing he gets to keep it.

"I'm still considering where to warm Gandhi next year," Tippens said. "Yesterday we were discussing Detroit or San Francisco. Detroit would be great as it is so very cold there and the people of Detroit would probably really enjoy some warming!"

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