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Diwali, a Festival of Lights

Students were treated to a presentation by their peers on November 7 in celebration of Diwali, a festival of lights, which marks the new year on the Hindu calendar symbolizes the "victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance." Students decorated the courtyard with rangolis (patterns created on the floor that are thought to bring good luck). An altar was set up in the historic Meetinghouse and diyas lit up the entrances and lined the pews in honor of the Festival of Light.  

Students explained what the celebration means to them personally and noted the different ways people observe Diwali in India and throughout South Asia versus New York. Some families plan elaborate parties and spend days preparing foods such as samosas, paneer, sukurpara and assorted sweets and drinks.

Our speakers examined the history of Ramayana, an ancient Indian poem that depicts the clash between prince Rama, his beautiful wife, Sita, and the demon king, Ravana, who wanted her for himself. After the demon king’s defeat, Rama and Sita began a long journey back to their land where people paved the way by lighting oil lamps. The symbolism of light is present in many of the world’s religions and at the core of Quaker beliefs. Today students learned it is also central to Diwali, as light can defeat darkness; good can defeat evil; and love can defeat hate.

We would like to give a special thanks to our student presenters: Ananya ‘25, Maahi ‘25, Maya ‘25, Jaanvi ‘25, Sejal ‘25, and Jay ‘24. This event was sponsored by the School's Center for Peace Equity and Justice in collaboration with Lower and Middle School offices and parents.

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Friends Seminary — the oldest continuously operated, coeducational school in NYC — serves college-bound day students in Kindergarten-Grade 12.

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