LTHS students celebrate culture and heritage during Diwali


On Monday, October 24, 2022, the hallways of Lebanon Trail High School were brighter than normal. Many students were seen wearing vibrant colors, with even livelier smiles on their faces. It was Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. It signifies the victory of good over evil and celebrates King Ram coming back to his kingdom with his wife Queen Sita, after defeating the demon Ravana. 


This year, celebrations are in full swing. The State of New York made Diwali an official school holiday, inviting Indian culture into America’s melting pot. Many students have also been talking about this recent development. 


“I think we should encourage that in more states, the representation is great,” Freshman Aneesh Chintala said. 


Along with government recognition, more people seem to be acknowledging the holiday. More students have been seen dressing up for Diwali in recent years, and 2022 was no different. 


“I dressed up because I wanted to associate with my culture. As a more recent immigrant, I haven’t gotten to see my culture authentically represented in years,” Freshman Mehek Sharma said.


Sophomores Anishka Desai and Tanmayee Jangidi also dressed up for the occasion. They both wore a kurta, which is a long tunic-style collarless shirt mostly worn to celebrate special events. 


“We have dressed up in the past as well…because we love representing our culture. It makes us feel comfortable with who we are, no matter how other people react,” Desai said.


Diwali comes as an opportunity for students to display their culture for more people, though some students have still faced criticism about the way they dress for the holiday.


“Many people have been supportive of what I’m wearing, like my friends, but there have been some people who glare, whisper, and judge. However, it doesn’t matter to me,” Sharma said. 


Sharma continues to persevere through peer judgment and refuses to change her way of celebrating because of others’ opinions. Diwali is a highly significant holiday for those who celebrate, and the importance renders others’ judgment insignificant.


“It commemorates culture and helps us relate to our Indian origins. It’s something I look forward to every year,” Jangidi said. 


Students look back upon their origins and take part in many cultural activities. Traditions are valued greatly during Diwali. 


“Lighting lamps and eating good food are some of my favorite traditions and activities to do during Diwali. We get together with our friends and family and celebrate as a community.” Chintala said. 


Diwali is a way for people to get together and express their cultural pride. In America, Diwali gatherings are a way to honor and celebrate the Indian Population.


“It makes me feel important and proud of my culture, especially living in America. It makes me feel good because you know, you can connect with your roots and culture.” Chintala said. 


The 8,834-mile distance between the U.S. and India doesn’t stop people from appreciating their culture. 


“This is the closest way I can be connected to my culture and honor it while living away from home. I love how I can do that at my own high school,” Sharma said.