South Asian Affinity Group Shares Diwali with Upper School
This week, students in the Upper School’s South Asian Affinity Group shared some of the traditions of Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, with their teachers and classmates. One of the most popular festivals of Hinduism, Diwali symbolizes the spiritual victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance.
“Although Diwali represents a multitude of traditions celebrated by diverse groups of people all over the world, it has one unifying message: good and light always triumph over evil and darkness,” Jessica Yonzon, Director of Global Education and one of SAAG’s advisors, said. “We celebrate the diversity in our customs and take comfort in the knowledge of our shared values.”
Members of the group put up posters, created a table display and shared videos exploring the holiday. SAAG co-presidents Sunishka Deshpande ’22 and Deya Singh ’22 demonstrated how to make masala chai, a traditional tea, during Tuesday’s Morning Meeting, and shared a traditional dance on Friday. On Wednesday, Sunishka also shared the history and significance of Kathak, a classical Indian dance form, with Upper School choir students in Jones Theatre.
The group had planned to offer students a chance to participate in rangoli chalk drawing during Community Time on Thursday, but inclement weather forced them to cancel.
Diwali table display in the Upper School hallway
Learn how to make masala chai, a traditional tea.
“We started brainstorming before the beginning of the school year for ideas to make Diwali a success despite the challenges surrounding different schedules and COVID-19 restrictions,” Sunishka explained. “Thankfully, along with our encouraging and adaptive sponsors Ms. Yonzon and Mrs. Dolia, we were able to plan a series of activities and events for a fun week of celebration for all Upper School students.”
Alongside their enthusiasm for bringing elements of the holiday season to friends and classmates at school, members of SAAG cherish their family celebrations as well. Traditions include sharing sweets and lighting fireworks.
“One of my favorite things to do on Diwali is to go around the house and light diyas, or lamps,” said Arnav Gupta ’24. “This represents the victory of light over darkness and good over evil.”
“I really enjoy Diwali because it’s a great opportunity to meet up with my family,” Deya added. “It’s a beautiful festival.”
“It’s incredibly important for me to share my experiences with the Ravenscroft community to foster change,” Sunishka concluded. “The more you learn about what makes you different from another, the more similar you become. Finding common ground between cultures and appreciating our differences helps facilitate empathetic and sympathetic actions that strengthen our community.”
Sunishka Deshpande ’22 explains the history and significance of Kathak, one of the eight forms of Indian classical dance.
First-grader Asher Godiwala and his brother, PreK student Liam, and their parents shared Diwali with Asher’s classmates. Enjoy their video, and use these resources for more ways to share Diwali with PreK through fifth-graders.
SAAG co-presidents Sunishka Deshpande ’22 and Deya Singh ’22 share a traditional dance for Friday’s Morning Meeting.