BY TITHI MAYANI AND JASMINE KAPOOR
This year, many Hindus around the world will be celebrating Diwali (or Deepawali) Thursday, October 19th. Also known as the festival of lights. It is the day that Lord Ram came back to his kingdom after defeating the evil king of Lanka, Ravan.
There are three days of Diwali; Dhanteras, Kalichaudas, and Diwali. On Dhanteras (‘Dhan’ meaning wealth, and ‘teras’ meaning the 13th day of the lunar calendar), it is Indian tradition to settle all debts before the new year. Merchants and businessmen will close the old year’s records, and officially start the new year’s record book.
On Kalichaudas (‘Kali’ being a goddess, and ‘chaudas’ meaning the 14th day of the lunar calendar), people worship the goddess Kali. On the third day, Diwali, people decorate their homes and light them up with decorative lights, and floor designs called ‘rangoli’. Fireworks are a popular activity for children and adults alike, as well as eating sweets and exchanging gifts. Many Hindus also celebrate the Lunar Calendar New Year on the day after Diwali. Bhai Beej (the day that brothers get to visit their sisters’ homes) is celebrated on the day after that by many as well.
This semester, Parent Teacher Night is taking place on the evening of Diwali. As there are many Milton families celebrating Diwali, this created some challenges. Jasmine Kapoor spoke with the principal, Ms. Baksys, about this concern. She indicated that the school was aware of this conflict, but the school board had to make a decision about when to hold the interview night. Diwali is celebrated by some families on October 18th, and some celebrate it on October 19th, which also influenced the decision. Perhaps the most influential factor was the fire which took place at the school on September 28th, when the Grade Nine Orientation night was initially supposed to take place. Since that event had to be cancelled, it was deemed important to provide that opportunity again as soon as possible.
It’s important to note that the school has made efforts to respect Diwali. For example, other things planned to occur on the 19th, such as math and chemistry tests, have been postponed by some teachers until Monday in order to allow students to enjoy celebrating Diwali. Even busy grade 12 classes are flexible with the schedule of important events to accommodate the students of MDHS.
Milton District is a diverse school with people of many cultures, religions, and beliefs. This is a part of the school that makes it such a wonderful place for people to learn and grow as individuals. Having Parent Teacher Night take place on the same day as Diwali is arguably the same thing as holding a school event on one of the three days of Easter for Christians, but the school regrets the conflicting dates, and will do its best to ensure that such a situation does not occur again.
All in all, we all wish everybody who celebrates it a joyous Diwali and a prosperous year!