Diwali is an important way to celebrate good, stay connected to culture

On+Diwali%2C+gifts+are+commonly+exchanged+between+friends+and+family.+Those+celebrating+may+also+decorate+their+houses+in+garlands%2C+lights+and+more+in+celebration+of+Diwali.

Sonya Sud

On Diwali, gifts are commonly exchanged between friends and family. Those celebrating may also decorate their houses in garlands, lights and more in celebration of Diwali.

Sonya Sud, Staff Reporter

Every fall, millions of people celebrate one of India’s most prominent holidays, known as Diwali or Deepavali. Diwali is celebrated all over the world for various reasons, most commonly in Hindu culture. This year, the holiday will be celebrated on Nov. 4. Dating back over 2,500 years according to history.com, Diwali is most commonly celebrated by Hindus, although it is also celebrated by Jains, Sikhs, Buddhists, as well as other religions. Diwali is the beginning of the new year and commemorates light over darkness. Houses around the world will often light oil-based candles known as Diyas, hence Diwali being nicknamed the ‘Festival of Lights.’

Oil-based candles called Diyas are lit for Diwali.  These candles are very commonly used on Diwali, to symbolize the theme of light. Diwali will be celebrated on Nov. 4, 2021. (Sonya Sud)

Along with this, there are multiple tales that different regions of India might celebrate.  My family is from Northern India, and we traditionally celebrate the story of the return of King Rama, his wife Sita and his brother, Lakshmana. This group was wrongly exiled to the forest for 14 years. During these 14 years, the group confronted several conflicts that were later overcome. In anticipation of their return, everyone in the city cleaned their homes and lit their houses up to lead the way for their King. Despite the challenges that Rama, Sita and Lakshmana ran into, they eventually returned to their kingdom, which symbolizes the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness.  

To this day, people celebrate Diwali by decorating their homes, dressing up in traditional clothing, having delicious meals with family and friends and exchanging desserts and gifts. Each family and person may have different Diwali traditions. 

“Every year, for Diwali, our family loves to decorate our entire house with lights. This part emphasizes the meaning of Diwali, which is light over darkness. Along with lights and lamps, we also make various types of desserts and dishes,” sophomore Adwyta Chelikavada said. 

Growing up from as early as I can remember, my family and I would light Diyas (when we were younger, we would buy fake battery lights) for each room in the house. My brother and I would run around our house, putting Diyas in every room, and making sure to turn on every single light switch possible. 

There are many parties and cultural shows around Diwali to celebrate the holiday as well. This could include dance performances, as well as reenactment shows of why Diwali is celebrated and more.

Rangoli is a form of Indian art, which can be created using rice, powder, flower and more. On Diwali, many families will create rangoli art to add decoration to their houses. (Sonya Sud)

Just like Christmas is one of the most important and commonly known holidays for Christians in America, Diwali is one of the most important holidays for Hindus in India. I don’t live in India, so for generations following mine, there won’t be a whole country to remind them to celebrate, which is all the more reason why I have to keep these traditions alive. My ancestors have celebrated Diwali for many generations before mine and keeping that piece of my culture alive is important to me and I don’t intend to allow this holiday to be forgotten by future generations.

Aside from the religious values of Diwali, I believe that the symbolic theme that light always triumphs over darkness is one that is important to remember. On Diwali, houses all over are filled with light, gifts are exchanged and comfort food is eaten, all while family and friends are gathered in celebration. This warm environment is one that everyone needs a little more of in their lives. With so much evil and darkness in today’s world, it can be hard to remember that there is still good and light. Diwali isn’t only a tradition in honor of folk tales, but to me, it’s more of a celebration of all the good in life, as well as a reminder to remember to focus on the bright side.