Diwali is a festival with a lot of meaning. It has a historical meaning to it.

India is one of the biggest countries in the world, with many festivals and languages celebrated and spoken by a huge population. Culture is a big part of India, as there are so many people who live there. 

Diwali is called the festival of light. Even though it was originally celebrated in India, today Diwali is celebrated all around the world between October and November, with the date changing every year. This year, Diwali was later in November than usual, being celebrated on November 12th, the darkest day in the two-month period and observed over a five-day period. Diwali is celebrated multiple days but the main day this year was November 12th. There is so much to connect to in this festival but my favorite tradition is putting sindoor (which is red powder) on the goddess’s head. Diwali makes me happy and it feels really good. This festival was a bit different since I was in college. 

Let me tell you what Diwali is about, and what it means to me as a celebration that gets rid of evil and bad spirits and brings good into your life. Praying brings a lot of peace into your life. It makes wishes come true.

Diwali is all about spending time with family. I went home this past weekend to celebrate with my family. Fireworks lit up the sky,  as different colors exploded, bringing light to the festival and strengthening its significance. On this day, we usually make sweets and bring them to other people’s houses to wish them a happy Diwali, often staying to sit and talk to them. Diwali is about the triumph of light over darkness. The lights show different colors. The fireworks get lit to prevent evil spirits from coming back.

The most fun thing is the light of candles and fireworks. The colors and sounds of firecrackers make me happy. It is always an exhilarating end to this yearly festival. We make special food and sweets, including Kheer, Jalebi, and Kaju Katli. We decorate the house with candles, as well as rangoli, an Indian decoration you put at the entrance of your house. The festival comes with a lot of light and fancy clothing. There is usually a specific time we have to start the prayer. We pray for happiness, success, and that all our wishes are fulfilled.

I have been celebrating this festival since I was a little kid, and I look forward to the fireworks that we light up every year. We don’t just celebrate Diwali but many other holidays like Holi, Raksha Bandhan, Navaratri, etc. On campus, we have a Diwali festival with singing, dancing, and lighting up fireworks. There is delicious Indian food. 

It is really important to take an interest in your culture because it helps you know more about your family and your background. Culture and prayer is something that is really important to my mom because she believes that praying can grant your wishes and fulfill your dreams.  There are many Indian people at this college, and some are international students.

Diwali, as well as other festivals, is important to my family because of their stories. Diwali brought many people together to celebrate. For Hindus, this festival has historical significance and celebrates the return of Prince Rama and his wife, Sita. This festival is important to me because my mom prepares sweets that I like most and it brings hope into my life. I want people to know that Diwali is the biggest holiday in India and is the most important day. 

Freshman Anika Singhal is a Contributing Writer. Her email is asingha1@fandm.edu.