Happy Diwali! Thursday of this week is Diwali (also spelled Divali, and sometimes called Deepavali/Deepawali). A lifetime ago, when I was a student, a teacher asked me to explain Diwali to my classmates. I don’t think I provided much more than:

“Um… it’s the festival of lights? There are fireworks?”

(above: Me, as an 11 or 12 year old who knew very little about Diwali)

In my defense, it was middle school, and it — and everyone in it — was awkward. And I really didn’t know the significance of the holiday — just that we celebrated it. (I think I knew that different people celebrated it differently / for different reasons, but I definitely wasn’t the expert on Diwali she hoped I’d be. And I also felt kind of embarrassed, like I was letting down all of India by not being able to teach everyone about it. …


Dr. Punita Rice

Author “South Asian American Experiences in Schools Brown Voices from the Classroom” & “Toddler Weaning,” founder ISAASE.org. Teacher, mom, wife. PUNITARICE.com

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