Celebrating Diwali, the Festival of Lights

Celebrating Diwali, the Festival of Lights

Lower School students celebrated Diwali at Chapel on November 28. Diwali is a five-day festival of lights, celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, and Sikhs around the world.  The story of Diwali and its beautiful traditions symbolize light over darkness, good over evil, unity of division, and knowledge over ignorance.

“Lower School families who celebrate Diwali came together to organize, plan, and lead this special chapel, offering our community not only their time and efforts, but also sharing with us their faith, traditions, stories, and voice. The families even came in after school on Monday to decorate the chapel space with rangolis, diyas, and other special items. This was such a gift,” said Lower School Chaplain Mel Robinson.

During the program, students shared the legend of Prince Rama and his triumph over the evil king Ravana, which is part of the fabric of Diwali, and information about traditions that are part of Diwali. They also shared their favorite things about celebrating Diwali, which include celebrating with family, getting to set off fireworks, and eating sweets.

As part of this chapel, the handbell choir performed “Sing We Now of Christmas” and “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.”

Lower School music teacher Amy Rheingans said, “Playing in the handbell choir is a special part of fifth grade. Each of the three fifth-grade classes gets to do handbells for one third of the school year, including an opportunity to perform as part of the culmination of their experience. The group who performed at this chapel was Ms. Wyllie’s fifth grade.”

This chapel also heralded the beginning of the Season of Light at OES. Students dropped a light into the “ripple jar” to symbolize the start of the season: each light sends more ripples of light and love across our community.

At the end of the program, Robinson asked the Lower School students to share what they had learned about Diwali and what they found meaningful and beautiful. Students said they appreciated the sparklers and the sweets, but also that it means time spent with family.

Robinson said to the children, “If you raised your hand because you found something beautiful or meaningful from today—and maybe it was something beautiful and meaningful from a tradition that isn't your own—that's so important.  It means you know something about loving your neighbor and you may have something to teach others about that too."