By Saanvi Mirchandani
Diwali is an annual Hindu holiday celebrated by over a billion people across the globe. It is known as the Hindu festival of lights, which many people consider to be the start of the new year. Although the festival originated with Hindus, Diwali is celebrated by most Indians of all faiths, including Jains, Buddhists, and Sikhs. The date of the five-day festival changes every year based on the Hindu lunar calendar, and this year the major celebrations fell on November 14.
The traditional celebrations last five days during which candles, firecrackers, and clay lamps known as diyas are lit to signify the triumph of light over darkness and good over evil. People decorate their houses with lights and rangolis, which are intricate patterns made from colored powder, rice, or flowers on the floor of their homes.
“Diwali was very different this year. I could not visit my family and places of worship were closed. Therefore, we did not continue our tradition of going to the temple and my relatives’ houses. Regardless, the celebration was still a memorable one,” said seventh grader Sohum Madan.
Source from Sanjay Bhartiya, Saanvi Mirchandani and Sonia Sethi
Sophomore Anant Bhartiya and his dad Mr. Sanjay Bhartiya light sparklers together; colorful rangolis are a Diwali tradition; traditional food is a significant part of the festival; many decorate their homes for the celebrations; eighth grader Vir Sethi, his mom Ms. Sonia Sethi, and sophomore Om Sethi participate in prayers on Diwali day; many keep their houses well lit and colorful to symbolize the triumph of good over evil; fireworks are an integral part of celebrations; traditionally, many eat different sweets during the holiday; diyas are made of clay and are used in religious prayers.
During a normal year, many people gather at temples and hold large celebrations with family and friends. This year, many had to find creative ways to celebrate, such as online prayer sessions or speeches as well as hosting celebrations or sharing meals over Zoom. Food is also a major part of the holiday with traditional sweets and savory items. People were still able to exchange gifts in a socially distanced manner and do traditional prayers at home. Even though this year, celebrations looked different, many families were still able to welcome in the new year and spend time with family and friends.
“This year I was not able to visit as many relatives and friends and the celebrations were not as extravagant, but the basics such as diyas, sweets, good food, and enjoyable company were there, so Diwali still felt like a good time,” said sophomore Ishita Bansal.
Despite COVID-19 restrictions, various families were still able to welcome in the new year, enjoy the festival of lights, and celebrate the triumph of light over darkness.