Lokshree Gautam, Grade 11
The celebration of Diwali, or the festival of lights, on campus during the second week of November was one of the most inspiring events that have occurred. Members of the subcontinent family (a group of students who derive from this region’s countries) coordinated to plan Diwali-related events for the entire school. We prepared days before the event by decorating the entire school, a large part of the celebration. The nostalgia of celebrating Diwali with my family back home rapidly approached after Diwali/Hindi songs played in the main lobby as the classy castle glowed with dazzling golden lights. Although this brought back happy memories, I was reluctant to engage in the activities because I feared the rest of the people who didn’t celebrate would find the songs’ language and ways of dancing peculiar. I was scared of the judgement from people I believed might have as my contrasting culture was being presented. It wasn’t until a friend told me they had never experienced this holiday yet enjoyed
Guest Writer - UWC-USA
learning about the Subconti traditions through this day. Wait a second, how come they didn’t make fun of the peculiar dances or laughed about the songs that played? Did someone just say they cherished my abnormal practices? As someone who used to put a mask on top of my Nepali culture at my former school in order to blend in with the “Western” ways, I finally realized I didn’t have to hide my identity anymore. The interest of others to gain knowledge about my customs encouraged me to take off my mask and admire my difference from the “typical” way of life.
After this small interaction, my day filled with dancing in the main lobby with the rest of my subconti family and proudly representing my Nepali dress without hesitation; ever since this day, I acquired the mindset that instead of brushing over my traditional roots, I should spread the opportunity for others to learn about my culture as it creates a sense of unification rather than isolation.