Homecoming conflicts with Diwali, creates tension in Hindu families


Creative Commons (Khürt L. Williams)

This year, both Homecoming and Diwali took place on Oct. 24. For students like freshmen Eshna Das, this created a problem.

Eshna Das, Staff Writer

Like many freshmen, I was excited to attend my first Homecoming. Yet when I went to check my calendar, I realized that Diwali took place on the same night.

While many families celebrate Diwali by lighting sparklers with their Hindu communities and participating in traditional parties, this year, students had to make a difficult choice—skip Homecoming and celebrate their religious culture or take part in the School’s biggest event of the year.

Either spending Diwali with my family or attending Homecoming would mean choosing which culture to honor. My parents were upset that they would lose one of the few days in which we embraced our Indian heritage, and many other families decided a change needed to be made. Families quickly made Facebook groups to come to a consensus on the issue, sending emails to the administration to advocate for a different Homecoming date.

After reaching out, we found that while the School knew that both Homecoming and Diwali were on the same date, they did not move the dance to another night. Families were disappointed and felt like it would be easier to change the date of a party than a ceremony celebrated by millions.

While parents were taking a stand on this issue, many students were too. Some of my classmates chose to observe their religion over the School’s event, so they stayed home to celebrate Diwali.

But I was still conflicted. Homecoming sounded exciting, yet I did not want to lose the Indian traditions that I had followed since birth.

In the end, I realized that Homecoming would only happen four times while Diwali would take place every year. So this year, I went to Homecoming.

While Homecoming was enjoyable, I regret abandoning my religious traditions for a party. Making the decision has, however, given me a better understanding of who I am and the choices I will be faced with in the future.

Fortunately, Hindu students will not have to decide between attending the dance or honoring Diwali until 2046, but if my children or future generations of students attend Homecoming, I hope that they won’t have to deal with deciding between their culture and the school.

The School should be looking ahead to see if there is any overlap between school events and cultural ceremonies to ensure there will not be unfair demands on one’s identity. It is easier to reschedule a sporting event or band concert than a holiday celebrated by millions.