Lighting Up Jax For Over 40 Years
December 13, 2020
The date changes every year based on the moon calendar. It can be hard to keep track of, but a quick google search will do the job. Astronomers establish the date according to the position of the moon every year, and Diwali is set to fall on the New Moon, Amavasya.
Diwali, or the Festival of Lights, is the most celebrated Hindu holiday as it is the celebration of the Hindu New Year. It takes place over 5-6 auspicious days and symbolizes the victory of light over dark and good over evil.
Diwali historically celebrates the return of King Rama to Ayodhya after defeating the demon, Ravana.
Hindus celebrate the holiday with lighting fireworks, creating rangoli artwork, lighting hundreds of candles, turning on every light in their houses, performing cultural dances, dressing up in fancy clothes, and so much more.
Over the years of Jacksonville’s history many Diwali celebrations have come to light. The major Jacksonville Diwali functions include events such as Gujurati Samaj and ICS Diwali, which are events for dance groups to perform Indian cultural dances to celebrate the holiday. There are also pujas* held at the Jacksonville Hindu Temple which are held to bring prosperity to the new year.
Some Bolles students shared their favorite family traditions and rituals for Diwali every year: Aditi Ranjan ‘23 explained that her family fills “a small statue house with rice, which symbolizes requesting prosperity for the new year from the goddess Lakshmi.” Deiya Pandya ‘22 explained her favorite part of Diwali, “We call all of our relatives in India to celebrate with them, it should be interesting on Zoom this year.” Sahana Desai ‘27 and Sabrina Desai ‘31 said that they “love making rangoli artwork every year and lighting diyas throughout the house.”
Pandya ‘22 shared that she sees Diwali as an opportunity for her “Family to come together to celebrate something special.” She also expressed the importance of celebrating the holiday as it is an “Important way to keep customs and traditions alive here in Jacksonville.” For Pandya, Diwali is the “idea of good conquering evil and prosperity for all.”