Students’ Celebration of Diwali Sheds Light on Diversity at Tuscarora

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By Brianna Meeks

While everyone else was recovering from Halloween and preparing for Thanksgiving and Christmas, the Indians in our community were quietly celebrating their own holiday: Diwali, the festival of lights.

Diwali is traditionally a five day (this year running from November 3rd through November 8th) festival celebrating the Hindu goddess of wealth, Lakshmi. However, it is more than just a religious holiday. Today, it usually draws its participants from Indians of all sorts of religions and backgrounds, Hindu or otherwise. For senior Akshaay Arora, it mostly holds significance as a tradition. For others, like senior Meghan Kakaraparti and her sister Varsha, a sophomore, it is more centered on religion.

Diwali traditions include cleaning the house then decorating it with lights for a party to celebrate the festival with others, sometimes lighting firecrackers. “My favorite part is putting up all the lights and decorations,” said Arora.

For many, Diwali is more than just a tradition; it is also a deeply spiritual experience. Kakaraparti says, “I believe that good always wins, so the meaning of lighting candles signifies light overpowering the dark.”

Among those who do not celebrate this festival, there is not much opposition. Arora sums up the festival by saying, “Some people think of it as a Christmas in November minus the presents.”