Nikita Srivastava (’19)
For many non-Hindus, Diwali is known as the festival of lights. Diwali celebrations focus on bringing the family together and enjoying festive activities such as: making rangoli, lighting diyas, and dancing to latest Hindi Film songs. However, the religious meaning of Diwali is incorporated in all these activities.
After several years, this was my first Diwali without my entire family. Usually, we make rangoli in front of each entry way into our home so the goddess Lakshmi will bless our home. Then we light diyas everywhere symbolizing light and guidance in the darkest of times. After our prayer ceremonies, we feast on the delicious food my mother spends all day making while I dance (horribly) to the trendiest Hindi songs. If the weather is nice, we end the night with fireworks and sparklers.
This Diwali, my mother drove down from Dayton to have dinner with me. She made traditional Indian food and desserts. I surprised my mother by lighting diyas outside and inside my apartment. Even though it was only the two us, we still had a great Diwali celebration. Although we did not did get to make rangoli or play with sparklers, we reminisced about the good old days, laughed at each other’s corny jokes, and reminded ourselves why we celebrate Diwali.
For Hindus, Diwali means finding your way back to the light. At some point, we all get lost and we all need guidance. For the Srivastava family, Diwali means coming back home to a supportive family that will stand by you no matter what happens.
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