Diwali Lights Up American Campuses: A Cultural Fusion Celebrated by Indian Students
In recent years, Diwali celebrations in the United States have surged, marking it as a prominent cultural event that follows closely on the heels of Halloween. The festivities have expanded beyond traditional Indian communities to notable American landmarks like Disneyland, Times Square, and even the White House. Notably, in June, New York Mayor Eric Adams announced that Diwali would be recognized as a school holiday, underlining the festival’s growing significance in mainstream American culture.
Indian Student Communities Bridging Cultures in the US
For Indian students studying in the US, celebrating Diwali is not just about preserving their cultural roots; it has become a means of fostering connections with diverse communities. These students often form their own close-knit groups, which not only include fellow Indians but also Americans and individuals from various nationalities. The communal celebrations transcend cultural boundaries, creating an environment where the essence of Diwali is shared, appreciated, and embraced by a broader audience.
Kajari Saha, a student at the University of California, Santa Barbara, reflects on this cultural exchange, stating, “The cultural transmission is delightful. I have celebrated Diwali with my American friends, as well as friends from other nationalities. They really enjoyed the food and the atmosphere.”
Diwali in the US: A Blend of Tradition and Adaptation
While Diwali remains a significant cultural touchstone for Indian students in the US, the nature of celebrations adapts to the local environment. Dipesh Tamboli, a student at Purdue University, notes the differences, stating, “The focus is more on coming together, sharing the spirit of Diwali, and maintaining our cultural traditions while adapting to our new surroundings.” The celebrations, although more intimate compared to India, involve key elements such as cleaning and decorating homes, creating rangoli designs, and enjoying traditional Indian dishes with friends and classmates.
As Diwali approaches on November 12, Indian students across the US are gearing up to illuminate their campuses with lights and festivities. In a foreign land, Diwali becomes a beacon of togetherness, inclusion, and the celebration of diverse cultures and traditions. While Halloween may be a significant event in the US, the influence of Diwali is on the rise, with students actively promoting cultural exchange and understanding, making it a truly global celebration.