Round Rock Students Celebrate Diwali

On Oct. 24, many students celebrated Diwali, a Hindu religious festival, also known as the Festival of Lights. This five-day holiday is full of fun and festivities, such as lighting firecrackers or decorating houses with lamps and candles.

“Diwali is probably my favorite holiday after Christmas,” sophomore Avni Agrawal said. “We get presents and I saw people I haven’t seen in a long time.”

Diwali is a festival of lights. It is one of the greatest and most extravagant celebrations, primarily observed in India. Diwali is a holiday that honors joy, victory, and tranquility. It usually occurs in October or November. It is observed 20 days following another festival, Dussehra. Hindus devote five days to celebrating Diwali, each day marking a different special occasion.

The term Diwali originates from the Sanskrit word Deepavali, which denotes a row of lights. As a result, people light lamps throughout their residences to commemorate this celebration. The observance promotes the victory of light over darkness.

“Me and my neighbors always do fireworks together,” sophomore Rishik Kolpekwar said. “They’re the same ones people do for the fourth of July.”

Since Diwali is a religious holiday, it is centered around a special prayer called a Puja. The specific Puja for Diwali is the Lakshmi Puja, to welcome the goddess Lakshmi into homes. Participants offer sweets and gifts to the gods, chant, read scriptures, and more. They should wear clean or new clothing.

“My favorite part about Diwali is getting to dress up in Indian clothes,” sophomore Sahasra Addala said. “My mom gets out all her jewelry for me to wear.”

Round Rock High School has a large population of Hindu students and groups of students have Diwali celebrations together. Neighbors have block parties and get-togethers. Together, they decorate the entire house with diyas, which are a small type of lamp. They also make rangolis, which are colorful decorations outside of the home.

“(Rangolis) are right outside of your house which usually signify light and colors entering your house,” Agrawal said.