Diwali is the Hindu Festival of Light and prosperity and is often associated with Lakshmi, the Goddess of Prosperity. Somewhat similar to Halloween, especially since it usually falls around the same time, diya lamps light the darkness into the new year and fireworks announce the festivities. Diwali fell on 7 November this year, however, the Upper Merion Township Library decided to celebrate on Monday, 5 November 2018. It was a rainy Monday evening, but the diya lamps, story telling, and dancing lighted the bleak evening.
I enjoy helping out with the event. The library staff read a Diwali story to the toddlers, I led the songs about the diya lamps and other traditional activities. I also guided the children when it came to playing with beanbags as we sang about what Diwali meant. Later in the evening, a sculptor came in and taught the older children how to make diyas. I loved guiding the children who were unfamiliar with clay sculpting and I was teaching them different techniques as we built the turtle diya. I took ceramics for two years and I enjoyed instructing. I could do that all day long.
Between story time for the toddlers and the activities for the older children, I had an hour break to watch the dancing. They had five different performances with different age groups performing different types of dances. How lovely and it was awesome to watch!
There was even a bizarre going on outside. Tables filled with food, some of it gluten-free, drinks, and information booths advertising ESL classes, Indian history, or other cultural facts. I tried some of the gluten-free treats and wasn’t disappointed.
Before I left for the evening, I asked Ms. Rina for a selfie. I’m very close to her and I am thinking of printing it out and framing it for her. I’m giving my library co-workers pictures from the New Year party last year for the holidays, I may frame this for Ms. Rina.
Diwali Night was a success! Everyone had so much fun, and I did as well. I kept thinking throughout the night, “this is what makes America great! This is what makes any country great! Diversity is beautiful and it makes the world a lively place. Love and tolerance lights the world too!” I can’t wait until next year’s.