Nightingale Celebrates Diwali

DECEMBER 9, 2021

Both the Middle School and Upper School gathered in their respective divisional assemblies to learn about the celebration and traditions of Diwali, the Festival of Lights, celebrated yearly by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and Newar Buddhists. Each event began with a video compilation of peers from all divisions sharing their own Diwali traditions—click here to watch!

In the Middle School assembly, Founder and President of The Culture Tree Anu Sehgal joined via Zoom, who shared that Diwali is a day to celebrate the new year and welcome new beginnings. Anu also explained the background of diyas, a primary symbol of Diwali. These are small lamps lit to make sure that Lakshmi can see homes and bring good fortune to families. Following her presentation, the students were joined by Namrata Israni, a Bollywood dancer, who led the students in a several traditional Bollywood dances.

Following the video in the Upper School assembly, Arya K. '22, Ella T. '22, Kathy L. '22, Diya A. '23, Aashtha A. '23, Jiya K. '24, Ria D. '24, and Mira S. '25 shared a presentation on the history and traditions surrounding Diwali. They spoke to the symbolism that exists throughout the holiday in the form of diyas (representing purity, goodness, and light) and rangoli (representing happiness, positivity, and liveliness of a household). They also shared a collage of photos from their childhood and described favorite memories of past Diwali celebrations with family. At the conclusion of the assembly, the Upper School students were able to enjoy learning Bollywood dances with Namrata Israni as well.

Our Lower School students were delighted to join the Middle School assembly, in addition to learning about Diwali in their homerooms in early November. The Kindergarten class also had a special dance session in music class. They learned a dance by Priya Raman, a Chicago-based dance teacher who was born in Rajasthan, India. Specifically created for kids, the gestures in the dance represent elements of a Diwali celebration, including lights, sparklers, flowers, diyas, rangoli, plates of sweets, and fireworks. The song they danced to was "Gallan Goodiyan," an Indian pop song from the 2015 movie Dil Dhadakne Do.

Thank you to our students and guests for sharing the story of Diwali with us!