A large part of the IMSA community is the appreciation of diversity. One of the biggest celebrations at IMSA is the Diwali Festival. Diwali is considered the festival of lights, as it symbolizes bringing light into the darkness, and the triumph of good over bad. Every year, Diwali falls on the darkest night of the year, and people celebrate the holiday by illuminating this darkness with their own lights. Here are a few ways that some people at IMSA have celebrated Diwali, and how you can too.
- Celebrate with Family and Friends: Many people attend or host parties with their family and friends. These parties include dancing and food. They range from small get togethers to parties with hundreds of people, but they all include spreading light in the form of happiness.
- Cook and Eat Food: It’s typical on auspicious days to refrain from eating meat, and instead, on Diwali, people compensate with sweets. Many people come together to cook multiple different kinds of sweets, which can be shared with friends, family, or even teachers.
- Drawing Rangoli: Rangolis are decorative designs made on flat surfaces such as in front of houses and on floors. They are composed of bright colors, and are used as a colorful welcome into a home.
- Henna: Indians use Henna for any special occasion. Usually it’s used to celebrate big events like weddings, birthdays, or dances but these days all you really need is an excuse and a cone of Henna. To apply a design you can either go to one of the many Indians located on campus in various halls or you can search henna designs on Google. I personally, like to look at a design online and copy it onto my hand but there are other people who are far more creative than me and can just think of designs on the spot. If either of these methods does not work, just take a pen that you can write on skin and sketch a rough outline of the design on your hand. Afterward you can go over the outline with henna the pen marks will just disappear. Regardless of which method you choose to utilize, make sure you wait at least an hour before you rinse the henna off. This ensures that the color will be rich and the design will stay on for a reasonable amount of time. This is one of the best parts of Diwali because there are many designs people can wear and it really adds a touch of festivity to the whole occasion. On a side note, henna is not limited only to the female gender as both guys and girls are able to wear it, but if guys do feel a little uncomfortable they can go with a variety of different tattoos instead.
- Temple Visits: Some people celebrate Diwali by going to the temple, which usually holds special programs for that day. These programs include performances on the history of Diwali and fireworks. The temple is just a few minutes from IMSA, and is open to not just Indians.
- Lights: The overarching theme of Diwali is light, and most Diwali celebrations consist of lighting in one way or another. Archit Pothorazu, a junior in 07, celebrates the festival of lights by keeping a candle blazing all night. Other people, such as Sameeksha Malhotra, a junior in 03, celebrate by turning on all the lights in their houses. Typically, lanterns and candles are lit all around the house, and are placed outside doors and window sills.
- Firework: The ultimate displays of light which mark Diwali are the Firework displays. Fireworks, for a few seconds, illuminate the dark sky with a burst of bright color. Firework displays come in all sizes, including playing with sparklers in front of houses, to the giant firework show at the temple that could be seen from IMSA.
- Dressing up: As is a tradition at IMSA, dressing up in Indian clothes is a fun and easy way to celebrate Diwali. Even though Friday isn’t the actual day of Diwali, much of the IMSA body show support for the festival and the culture by dressing up in Indian clothes.
The best way to celebrate Diwali at IMSA, however, is to go to the Diwali show on Friday, at 6:00, which consists of dances and other performances that highlight the essence of both Diwali and the culture behind it.