Diya-light-ful: Students’ Diwali traditions

Diya-light-ful: Students’ Diwali traditions

Carefully moving her dupatta out of the way, Senior Vrindha Koppisetty knelt to light the rocket and ran back to stand with her family. They looked up and saw the sky light up in sparkling colors, marking the start of Diwali festivities. 

Diwali is a festival that originated in India and is said to be over two thousand years old. While the date of the festival changes according to the lunar calendar, it tends to be in either October or November. The story behind its origin varies.

“In northern India, the story of the origin of Diwali is different than in the South,” Koppisetty said. “In the north, they celebrate King Rama’s return to Ayodhya, after he defeated Ravana, by lighting rows of clay lamps. Southern India celebrates it as the day Lord Krishna defeated the demon Narakasura.”

Senior Tejasvi Gutti sees lighting Diyas as a vital part of the celebration, embodying a triumph of light over darkness, of good over evil. 

“We light up diyas to welcome them home,” Gutti said.

Along with honoring the history of the festival, Gutti enjoys celebrating by eating her favorite festive foods, including carrot halwa and gulab jamun. Like Gutti, Koppisetty has a similar love of Diwali food.

“My favorite Diwali food is Gulab Jamun,” Koppisetty said. “Gulab jamun is an Indian dessert of fried dough balls soaked in a sweet, sticky sugar syrup. As per tradition, the syrup has a delicate rose flavour. Gulab means ‘rose water’ and jamun refers to [the jamun] berry, which is of a similar size and colour to the dessert.”

While the day of Diwali is known for food and fun, families worldwide celebrate for a few weeks around the festival in different ways. 

“Before Diwali, we put up lights and decorate the house with flowers and diyas,” Gutti said. “We also make a rangoli (a colorful pattern created on the floor out of colorful powders) to decorate the front [porch].” 

Koppisetty’s family has a similar tradition of decorating before the festival. After the puja and setting Diyas out with her sister, Koppisetty and her loved ones gather to enjoy the festivities together. 

“[By meeting everyone], I immerse myself in the festive atmosphere and celebrate the occasion in shared happiness and camaraderie,” Koppisetty said. “[Diwali] holds [a] special significance [to me] as the vibrant festival reminds me of home and is an opportunity to create lasting memories with the people I love.”

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About the Contributor
Seiya Mutreja, Editor
Seiya Mutreja is a senior, and is overjoyed to be the Data and Graphics editor on the editorial board this year. This is her third year in the Vandegrift Voice. Apart from the Voice, she is part of NEHS, NHS, SNHS, Mu Alpha Theta, FFA, FCCLA, and the Student Council. Outside of school, she loves to bake, play piano and guitar, and read.

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