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Hotchkiss Community Celebrates Diwali

From Oct. 25-27, students of Indian heritage celebrated Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, with the Hotchkiss community. At Chapel on Friday, several students talked about the significance of the holiday and described how they celebrate it. 

"During this festival, people decorate their homes with lights and oil lamps to symbolize the inner light that protects us from spiritual darkness,” said Mehar Bhasin ’23.

Arhan Chhabra ’22 added that, "Diwali is a time to forget our differences and come together for a new beginning. In our gatherings, we narrate stories of Diwali, touching on the qualities of courage, kindness and compassion as they share the message of Diwali – triumph of good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and light over darkness."

Anika Balwada ’23 emphasized that Diwali is “a time to come together with family, reflect, pray, and have fun.” 

Emily Randolph ’22 described her family’s ritual: "In the evening, we all go over to my grandparents house to celebrate. Upon our arrival we immediately wash our feet because it shows respect for the gods while we are praying. After this, my mother and I change into silk saris and then my family begins the pooja, which is the Hindu way of praying."  

Anju Taneja, instructor of physics, said the diya, or lamp, is a symbol of Diwali. “The Lotus Mudra is a modified diya formed by the hand. Like a lotus that floats on the surface of the water with long roots leading down to the soil, the Lotus Mudra helps us to ground, it signifies transformation, abundance, and generously sharing. Hence the string of diyas (lamps) in Diwali represents the practices that direct our energy to a purpose of being beyond personal wants and needs. This year the two Diwali lamps were lit to honor the practice of Ahimsa (non-injury) of thought and speech and the practice of Saucha (cleanliness).”

On Saturday, a special dinner in celebration of Diwali was held; Bindiya Valavil and Narayan Puthanmadhom P’22, parents of Samarth ’22,  and Chitra Prabhakar and Gopalan Umashankar P’21, parents of Sachin ’21, helped to organize the event and attended the gathering. Preceding dinner, Samarth conducted a Pooja ceremony, and the evening concluded with the lighting of sparklers. 

On Sunday, the Dining Hall served coconut fudge to celebrate Diwali with the entire School community.

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