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‘Feel proud of where you come from’: Students plan, reflect on Diwali celebration

Photo credit: Meredith Ho
Beyla Patil (’27) and Shanti Seth (’27) pass out chai to Lucy Kaplan (’26) in the courtyard during lunch. The Diwali celebration took place Nov. 14, and it included music, food and games.

Diwali, also known as the Festival of Lights, marks the beginning of the new year in India. The festival represents the spiritual victory of light over darkness and good over evil and is typically celebrated with food, gift exchanges and bright lights.

To celebrate Diwali, students and faculty members gathered in the courtyard during lunch Tuesday, Nov. 14. Surya Patil (’25), Beyla Patil (’27), Shanthi Seth (’27), Kareena Desai (’30) and Samaira Modgil (’29) planned the celebration.

These students brought in traditional foods eaten on Diwali, such as mango lassi, chai, samosa, burfi and laddoo to share with the community. Additionally, students arranged tables for games, and they had the opportunity to try some temporary tattoos of henna designs.

Diwali does not have a fixed date, but it typically falls in either October or November, revolving around the Lunar Calendar. The festival fell on Sunday, Nov. 12 this year, and it is largely observed by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists.

Desai wore her dance attire — flared red pants with gold designs — and performed a Bollywood dance in front of the community during the celebration. She then invited students to come onto the stage to dance with her.

“I think when everybody started going on stage and falling behind me, I felt really proud,” Desai said. “I really like sharing my culture and my dance with other people.”

Seth said Diwali is one of the many holiday events that students celebrate on campus annually to showcase diverse cultures. She celebrates Diwali by cleaning her home with her family and going to events to eat her favorite foods.

“Diwali for me means spending time with my family and celebrating the Indian New Year,” Seth said. “I love seeing relatives that come visit for Diwali, and I love seeing everyone’s outfits because this holiday is represented by such bright colors.”

Surya Patil, Beyla Patil and Seth presented to the upper school Nov. 16 on Diwali and the meaning behind the holiday as well as how they celebrate it. Besides representing her own culture, Desai said she likes to learn about others as well.

I really enjoy learning about different cultures,” Desai said. “Not only do I get to learn about my own, but other cultures as well. I get to learn about it more than I probably would have just looked it up on the internet.” 

Surya Patil said to start her new year, she goes to temple and sets goals. She said she is glad there are more Indian students at Archer this year compared to previous years.

“Being able to share your culture and have everyone learn about it and be able to appreciate it and feel proud of where you come from is really important,” Surya Patil said. “It’s such a fun event, and it’s so joyous … and you want to celebrate it and share with your friends and people who may not know what it is.”

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About the Contributor
Meredith Ho
Meredith Ho, Senior Reporter
Meredith Ho joined Oracle as a staff reporter in 2022 and became a senior reporter in 2023. She is on the Archer swim team, a member of the Orchestra Leadership Team, and the co-leader of the Animal Rights Club. In her free time, you can find her riding a bike and hanging out with her friends and family.

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