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Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974


Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974


Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974


Sidwell Parent Association Holds Diwali Celebration


On Oct. 25, the Parents of Asian Students (PAS) organized an all-school Diwali celebration to immerse students in South Asian culture. At the celebration, Sidwell offered several events and exhibits –– including candle formations known as Rangoli and dances choreographed by students in the Bhangra Club. 

Translating to the “row of lights,” Diwali celebrates the victory of light over darkness and the beginning of the Hindu new year. The holiday also serves as a tribute for Sita, a Hindu goddess in an ancient epic, when she returns to the Indian city of Ayodhya, as told by the epic.

Sophomore Sophie Cao said that “celebrating Diwali not only makes our community more inclusive to other cultures, religions and holidays, but also teaches us about different cultures, religions and holidays and how to appreciate them.” 

PAS clerk Nitisha Kharbanda highlighted the holiday’s significance as “a time for new beginnings and renewal, and connecting with family and friends.” 

Kharbanda also traced the holiday’s history, adding that Diwali is “more spiritual than religious since it is symbolic for choosing light and knowledge.” 

The celebration consisted of a diverse group in age, background and culture. According to Kharbanda, the event did a great job immersing those unfamiliar with the holiday in the vibrant colors, flavorful food and rich history.

The various dances performed by students in the Sidwell community also connect to the history of Diwali. Senior Anya Vedantambe performed a Kuchipudi dance, a style meant to tell mythological stories. 

Freshmen Naman Gupta and Tasbih Bakshi performed a play on the Punjabi folk dance, Bhangra. Eighth-grader Neyla Marwah also performed a Bharatnatyam dance to a song praising Khrishna’s homecoming initially written in the 1700s.

Cao added that the event encourages students to bring their creativity to the table through various outlets such as photography and dance. “Creativity does a great job of strengthening our community as a whole,” said Cao. 

Sidwell students have advocated for the administration to offer no-homework days or days off of school for Diwali and other South-Asian holidays.

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