Pleasant Grove High South Asian students celebrate Diwali

Diwali+is+celebrated+with+candles.+Pixabay+Image.

Diwali is celebrated with candles. Pixabay Image.

By Parneet Kaur, Pleasant Grove High School

South Asian students at Pleasant Grove High School and Pleasant Grove Elementary School on Oct. 24 celebrated Diwali, a traditional holiday. 

Diwali is also known as Candle Day in India. It is celebrated by Hindus, Jains and Sikhs. Diwali is known to symbolize the day of light, and its celebration helps bring people together to celebrate the victory of the light over darkness. 

In Sikhism, Diwali celebrates the release from imprisonment of the sixth guru, Guru Hargobind, along with other Hindu kings. A guru is a god or a religious teacher. 

Adherents go to their religious sites and light candles. This also can be done at home for those who cannot make it to a religious site. Powdered color is also used to decorate the front doors of homes in colorful patterns.  

Some students from Pleasant Grove dressed up for the event, said Jaskirn Kaur. She said she did so because it helps others learn more about her culture.

Asked why she celebrates Diwali, Kaur said, “I really like Diwali because it’s a time for me and my family to come together and celebrate our ancestry and have a good time. Me and my family usually light candles… make a lot of sweets and light some fireworks.”

Kaur said she believes it is important to recognize these traditions so future generations know about them, that it is important to go to the past to move forward and bring the culture with us. 

Hukam Singh Bath, a first grade student at Pleasant Grove Elementary, dressed up for Diwali and was excited to see other peers celebrate a memorable cultural holiday.  

“I celebrate Diwali because it is a cultural day… it is an Indian holiday” said Bath. “I get to celebrate Diwali once in a year, and I feel good when I see others celebrate Diwali.”

Bath said he wishes Diwali occurred every month. When asked what people typically wear, Bath said that most boys wear a headcovering or a turban and some cultural clothes known as a kurta pajama. 

“My family likes to light candles, clean our houses, and enjoy the day,” he said.

Bath said that they clean the house before Diwali because it is known to help bring in positive energy and known to be pure. His family likes to sometimes donate to religious sites, such as a gurdwara, or to people in need. A gurdwara is a religious site where Sikhs go to worship or attend religious events.

“At the gurdwara we pray and do seva,” Bath said.

Seva is a way of practicing religion by doing service. Seva can be done in many ways and at any place. You can do seva by just helping others, washing dishes, or just setting up at a local gurdwara. 

Bath said, “I love … practicing seva because it makes me feel good and happy.”

Rajbir Kaur, a mother of three children, said she is excited to know that more people are getting involved in cultural celebrations. “I am very proud of this generation and the upcoming generation (for continuing) their religious traditions.”

Rajbir Kaur said that Diwali in the Sikh religion is a celebration of the happiness of Guru Hargobind and 52 other kings in their release from imprisonment.  

“ My family enjoys celebrating Diwali (as a) victory of our gods… We like to do fireworks, light up candles and dia’s” said Rajbir Kaur. “Dia’s are red clay made miniature pots or oil lamps that are made to hold ghee or oil with a thick string of cotton which is lit on fire at the tip.” 

Rajbir Kaur said as a family she likes to get together, dress up and with a peaceful mind, go to the religious site and be grateful to god. 

Varneet Kaur, a former student of Pleasant Grove High and a current college freshman, said she loves to celebrate Diwali because it represents bringing light into your house and within you. 

“I think it is a great holiday to celebrate with your friends and family away from stress and have a good time,” she said, adding, “I really value others who are not Asian-Indian who also participate in this tradition.”

 

Note: the individuals named Kaur are all family members of the reporter, Parneet Kaur.