Bright powder spread across the porch. Mini clay lamps surround the house. The sweet smell of Jaggery fills the air. Diwali is here — the most celebrated festival in many Indian households, including my own.
Diwali is an Indian festival celebrating light over darkness, how good will always triumph evil. It’s the celebration of enlightenment and liberation. We invite the goddess of wealth and good fortune, Lakshmi, into our house, serving as hope of better times during struggles.
For my family, it is a time of coming together and celebrating with our loved ones. We make a trip to the Indian store to purchase decorations and a small gold coin, which symbolizes the welcoming of blessings into the house. We work together to bake an assortment of Indian sweets together, from Gujiyas to Kaju Katli to Gulab Jamuns, giggling and creating cherished memories along the way. We decorate the porch and backyard with Rangolis, a symmetrical design made of many bright chalk powders. They represent positivity and liveliness in the house.
We wear colorful Lehengas and decorative jewelry. Most importantly, we surround our house with diyas, small lamps that represent light eradicating darkness. To prepare the diyas, we fill clay cups with oil and roll strips of cotton to create wicks. We then worship god, singing bhajans, ringing auspicious bells, thanking god for the blessings we are surrounded by, and praying for those in need. These prayers allow us to stay humble and remind us to care for and to give back to our community, especially to those that aren’t as fortunate as us.
Growing up in the United States, Diwali has become a time of commemorating my culture and spending quality time with my family. It reminds me of my Indian roots and principles, ones that will serve as a guiding light throughout my life.