Students from across campus gathered to celebrate and learn more about Diwali. Also known as the festival of lights, Diwali is a time for performing religious rituals and sharing traditional Hindu stories. The holiday is centered around light and the metaphorical victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance. The five-day festival culminates on the third day with the Hindu New Year, which coincides with the new moon—the darkest night of the lunar month.
To start, South Asian Student Alliance Co-Presidents and Co-Founders Anika Gehani and Riya Jain led a Morning Ex for students in Intermediate, Middle and Upper Schools. They explained how proud and honored they were to lead the first student-led Diwali Morning Ex in more than five years! They provided information on Diwali, then turned to seniors and SASA members Deven Gupta and Krish Malhotra who shared the history of this event, with one telling the story and one acting it out for the audience. Next, Gehani and Jain welcomed students from the audience, along with 8th grade English teacher David Fuder, to compete in a trivia competition around Diwali, its roots, India and those who celebrate. When asked about this event, the SASA heads shared, “We’re both very happy that we were table to share a big part of our culture with the student body. It’s been 5 years since we’ve had a student-run Diwali MX, so we’re excited to have brought it back, in an interactive/engaging way!”
During this MX in the Heller Auditorium, the Senior Kindergarten got together as a grade for their own celebration organized by Parker parents Shivani and Paritosh Batra. The SK students watched a dance group perform a traditional dance, then taught the dance moves they had just performed to small groups of SKers and explained the significance behind these movements. Concurrently, parent/guardian volunteers helped lead the students through an art activity to create rangolis, using sand and glue to create a symbol of good luck and prosperity that welcomes guests for Diwali.
Students involved in both celebrations left with a better understanding of Diwali and those who celebrate from around the world. Parker thanks Gehani and Jain for leading a special MX and the dancers and parent/guardian volunteers who helped facilitate the SK celebration.