South Asian Student Union hosts a Diwali celebration


Photo by Allison Xu

Students enjoy the diverse flavors of Indian food. “People are here from all different cultures, and that community and inclusivity are really beautiful. I’ve never seen something like this at WJ, and I hope to see it more in the school,” senior Diane Juica said.

The South Asian Student Union at Walter Johnson hosted their first public event on Wednesday, October 26th, 2022 as a Diwali celebration. Diwali is a Dharmic holiday celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and several other religions native to the Indian Subcontinent, going by several names. Traditions vary, but lighting oil lamps or diya’s and bursting fireworks are synonymous with the holliday across the diverse traditions.

The SASU offered several of these festivities including, rangoli making, mehendi, & diya making, all of these being common practices in many households. Rangolies are displayed outside of every house welcoming goddess Lakshmi, promoting wealth and prosperity. Mehendi is worn by women on their hands and legs on special occasions and functions. Diyas are clay lamps, with oil being used in place of wax and a piece of cotton rolled into a wick. For the celebration at WJ, rangoli patterns were made on plates, ink was used mehendi and, diyas were made from clay with electric candles replacing oil and the cotton wick. This was to accommodate the environment, while addressing the festivities.
The SASU also provided samosas, and mithai (sweets) such as gulab jamun, and kaju barfi. These ran out within the first 20 minutes of the celebration with a line wrapping around the staircase.