The sights, sounds, and energy of Diwali were felt across the Lower and Middle Schools as students, parents, and volunteers came together to celebrate the Indian festival of lights.
Head-Royce has had an annual Diwali celebration for the past several years, but this year, parents and grandparents of the School's Asian Parents Network, with help from the Parents’ Association’s Cultural Enrichment Committee, made the celebration an even bigger event.
“The goal was to make it a hands-on experience and offer students the ability to decide what part of South Asian culture they wanted to explore,” parent organizer Preety Kalra said.
In the past, Diwali was celebrated during each divisions’ assembly time. This year, celebrations occurred during lunch breaks. Both the middle school patio and the community room were filled with interactive booths. Students made clay tea lights called diyas, as well as rangolis, decorative art pieces made from colorful rice. Many received ornate henna tattoos from professional artists and were able to try on traditional South Asian attire and have their photos taken. Students also sampled samosas and sweets as energetic Indian fusion music played in the background.
“Celebrating diverse cultures has a twofold effect–-one, kids and their families get to work together to figure out what their family culture means across generations; and two, there’s an exchange between students, families, and the professional community. This has the potential to ‘normalize’ a student’s cultural realities into the fabric of the larger School community,” Kalra said.
Students of non-Indian origin were very curious, asked questions, and were happy to participate in a cultural celebration other than their own.
“I love it because Head-Royce is so diverse - that’s one of the moral themes here - it’s really fun to gather with everyone and celebrate another culture,” Eloise H. ’22 said.
And for those students who usually celebrate Diwali at home with their families, celebrating with friends was an added bonus.
“It’s super cool that everyone gets to experience what our culture is and they get to enjoy our food and music,” Eesha M. ’22 said.
Diwali is a five-day Indian festival of lights, celebrated by millions of Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains. The holiday celebrates new beginnings and the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness.
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