The festival of lights or Diwali has always been one that brings hope, joy, and light in the Indian tradition. I never believed that Diwali could actually bring light into the darkness, until last year. Last year was difficult, painful, and morose for almost everyone. For people in India, who are used to celebrating two to three festivals every other month, it was hard because of COVID-19 restrictions and several lockdowns. It was a dark year indeed, with all the colorful celebrations held back and cries of people's sufferings heard almost every day. Covid cases seemed to drop down by the end of the year 2020, so the restrictions were eased for people to celebrate the festival of Diwali with a cautious mindset.
I remember back in the days, when I was little, my family and I would come together for Diwali. With all my cousins under one roof, it used to be agony for the elders whereas a party for us. We would buy all sorts of fireworks, which we would light for over a course of 3 days (though the main festival is just one day). The elders in the meantime would make different kinds of assortments from mouth-watering super sugary sweets to hot and spicy savories. With so many guests at a place, I will leave it to your imagination about the enormity and wide variety of the delicious foods that were made.
With all such celebrations away for almost an entire year, 2020 was somber. But when the government eased the restrictions for Diwali, it truly signified its meaning of bringing light to the darkness. I saw a lot of people from different walks of life, come together to celebrate Diwali with much love and interest. Almost every house in my neighborhood was glowing with all the earthen lamps at the post and all kids out like in the olden days in different costumes bursting crackers and yelling their lungs out enjoying the festival. I wish every day to be like Diwali –– very colorful, people with high and positive energy, and most of all supreme delicacies from different regions of the Indian subcontinent.
Luckily, Vedic Vision Society, a student organization at Illinois Tech, is bringing back the same spirit of Diwali this year through several cultural events, colorful traditions, and wonderful food on the eve of Diwali (Thursday, November 4, 2021). I strongly believe a lot of students who miss home and also many who love to experience the rich Indian culture will get to go to this event to experience the spirit of Diwali.