Dive into Diwali: The festival of lights

design & photos: Hiya Patel

The festival of lights is a phrase used to describe the popular religious celebration Diwali.

Diwali is a five-day long religious holiday celebrated by primarily celebrated by mostly Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs. Occasionally some Buddhists celebrate Diwali as well, according to diwalifestival.org.

“It begins on Oct. 23, and ends on Nov. 2. It’s always this time period because that is around the time it happens on the Hindu calendar. It is the holiest time of the Hindu calendar” sophomore Aarav Gala said.

Although Diwali takes place at the end of October, preparations need to be made before the celebration happens. Preparations may include cooking or baking food and decorating houses or religious buildings.

“We start planning weeks, sometimes months, in advance because there is so much excitement surrounding the festival. We all are so eager to begin preparing to be able to celebrate it with utmost festivities,” Columbus BAPS youth coordinator Sakshi Patel said.

Over one billion Hindu people celebrate Diwali, according to npr.org. Some ways to celebrate are eating food, having house parties, and celebrating at temples and churches.

“Diwali is a part of my Indian identity and I will always be proud to celebrate it” sophomore Dhruv Kapadia said.

Diwali can be celebrated anywhere and everywhere, but most people who celebrate this holiday choose to celebrate it at their houses and at various religious locations.

“I celebrate Diwali at my home and at my Mandir,” Patel said.

Celebrating Diwali has different meanings for different people. For some people it’s a time of pure celebration and joy while for others it’s a period of giving back and introspection.

“I celebrate Diwali by participating in the various prayer ceremonies, helping with the preparations, and reflecting on my actions to improve upon myself,” Patel said.

Celebrating Diwali doesn’t have to be a serious ordeal though. Sometimes it just means having fun.

“I celebrate Diwali because it is a fun festival that I can celebrate with friends and family,” Gala said.

There are many reasons why people celebrate Diwali. The most common answer is the celebration of light over evil.

“Diwali is a time of good triumphing over evil and the meaning of this is the main reason I celebrate Diwali. It also helps me grow closer to my Hindu roots as well as allows me to spend even more time with my family, community, and those who attend my Mandir with me,” Patel said.

 Diwali is also a major event in the year for Indian-Americans who are looking to show off and embrace their culture and heritage in a fun (maybe a different adjective here?) way. No matter the reason for celebrating the holiday, Diwali is a fun (or here) time with lots of value for many people around the world.

“To me Diwali means joy, community, a sense of belonging and just overall having a good time,” Gala said.