Nov 9
2015

Diwali in USA | A normal Diwali, our festivities, and keeping India alive in America

If I had to pick a time of year that I miss being in India, it would most certainly be during this festival of lights called Diwali. Sure, I would like to celebrate all festivals with my family, but during Diwali, it is not just the family I miss. I miss walking out on my street and watching rows of diyas (oil lamps) adorn the thresholds of all houses; I miss the community celebrations and the fireworks (no the 4th of July does not invoke the same feeling in me); I miss eating homemade sweets that I did Β not have to make πŸ˜› . But most of all, I just miss Diwali as I remember it from my childhood – a normal Diwali (as I have come to think of it).

Diwali-in-America

In US, most Indian festivals that fall on weekdays, are celebrated on weekends; by visiting temples, or organizing a get-together to celebrate the occasion with friends. The actual day of the festival is business as usual, as it is not a holiday, and it is pretty hard to get time from the daily grindΒ to do anything special.

It has been almost 6 years here, and we have watched Diwalis come and go, with 2 predominant thoughts in our minds –

It’s just not the same here; I miss the normal Diwali celebrations.

I wish we were home…

But the thing is Β – we ARE home. This is our home; the life we chose. For our son who is born here- this is his country, his life, his normal. Now it is up to us, how we shape that normal, and our failure to do so will have far reaching consequences -D will grow up without having any fond memories of Diwali, and what a travesty that would be!

So, in an effort to create a beautiful normal for him when it comes to Diwali – we have decided to make it special – take off from work on Diwali day and spend it with family; visit the temple on the same day; light oil lamps in the house; put up a string of electronic lights; drawΒ a rangoli with colored sand, and gorge on Indian sweets. Small steps, I know, but this is only the beginning of a tradition that we hope to create for our family in our little corner of the world, and keep a slice of India alive in America.

Wishing you all a very Happy Diwali. May the divine light of Diwali shine in your life all through the year and fill your life with happiness and prosperity.

Lots of Love
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Comments

  1. Lata Sunil says:

    Shantala, somehow this post is reminding me of the book The Namesake. I guess, some adjustments are required to get the best of both worlds. Happy Diwali.

  2. Thats such a nice thought Shantala. I totally believe that we shud stop lamenting upon how good it was for us back then and focus on how great we can make it for our kids, now. Love the fact that you have you have taken leave on that day. Even my husband refused a business trip for this week πŸ˜€
    Nidhi recently posted…Orange Infused Gajar HalwaMy Profile

  3. Good that you are making every little effort to show your son how Diwali is celebrated. Happy Diwali to you too. Please link your post to my Diwali linky party http://fantastic-feathers.blogspot.in/2015/11/diya-painting-for-diwali.html?m=1
    Mahathi ramta recently posted…Deepavali Celebration – A festival of lightsMy Profile

  4. Happy Diwali. I think it is important for your son to keep in touch with his heritage. It’s a great thing about America that he can be American and still hold onto ancestral traditions.
    Susan Gourley recently posted…The Fun Never EndsMy Profile

  5. Happy Diwali to you and your family! πŸ™‚ I think it’s important to keep one’s heritage alive, no matter where you’re living.
    Debbie D. recently posted…MIRACLE OF SMALL THINGS BOOK BLOG TOUR @Guilie73My Profile

  6. A real good decision, Shanatala. Wishing you and the entire family a Happy Diwali. The lil one would cherish all such good memories, and this would instill in him the family values.

    Loved your decision.
    Ajay Pai recently posted…and I strum – A lullabyMy Profile

  7. Dear Shantala, Wishing you and your family also a Very Very Happy Diwali. I am so glad that you celebrate Diwali on the same day and kudos that you are trying to make memories with your little one. I am sure whenever he would come here on Diwali he would understand and would be able to relate with everything here. Great effort!!
    Ruchi Singh recently posted…Book Blast:: ‘Faith Of The Nine’ by Sachin DevMy Profile

  8. It’s always hard, I’m sure. I know my uncle and aunt who have been in Australia for over 30 years now try as far as possible to come ‘home’ for Christmas. It’s getting harder for them to do so with grandchildren demanding that they stay ‘home’ for Christmas. I guess that’s the tough part of growing up in one place and moving to another. It’s good that you’re starting traditions of your own.
    Corinne Rodrigues recently posted…Practise What Heals #MondayMusingsMy Profile

  9. Well said! This is now our home and we need to make the effort to make each Diwali special for our kids! Do post pics later of what you did!
    Roshni recently posted…What kind of monster are you?!My Profile

  10. I guess at the end of the day we can only do what we can to make sure our children know some of the festivals we’ve celebrated. And home truly is where we are πŸ™‚ Happy Diwali, Shantala. Of course lots of love to your amazing family too.
    Sid recently posted…Would you like a drink?My Profile

  11. I can understand your emotions very well. I went through the same during the 2 Diwalis I celebrated while we lived in UK. While lighting the candles at home and visiting the temple, it did not feel the same as what it felt being in India on this festival. But this year we are in India and I am prepared to make it as close as possible for what it used to be, for Dhruv. Wish you a very Happy Diwali Shantala πŸ™‚

  12. It sounds like you’re building some lovely traditions for your family, and I’ll bet your son looks back on them fondly as his own “normal” Diwali celebrations!
    Laurel Regan recently posted…#MicroblogMondays 63 – My Latest Splurge(s)My Profile

  13. I can completely understand what you are saying. You are doing well in sharing the lovely traditions with your son. Wish your family a very Happy Diwali!
    Rachna recently posted…5 gifts you must avoid giving this DiwaliMy Profile

  14. You are doing the best you can. And that’s most important. He will remember this version when D grows up. Home is where the heart is. Happy Diwali and have fun! πŸ™‚
    Parul recently posted…Hong Kong – Ten Thousand Buddhas MonasteryMy Profile

  15. It’s not all that different in Mumbai. My childhood Diwali was very different in Madras. We were a huge family and we used to be up with all of us having had our “Ganga Snaan” before 5 am (how we managed with a single bathroom, I don’t know πŸ˜› ). With sweetmeats and crackers and a South Indian lunch spread, it was a different time altogether.
    But here in Mumbai, everyone goes to work on Diwali; so I am also sitting in front of the computer today, working. Yeah, Diwali is celebrated today in Tamil Nadu. While we are planning to have the festival lunch tomorrow, when it’s holiday here.
    But, somehow over the years, I feel we have lost the spirit of festivals. I believe its a time for connecting with the Maker and sharing with those who don’t have; yeah, and loving animals too. Nothing we do during Diwali seems to keep these in mind. That’s when I began questioning our festivities. Nowadays, I celebrate it the way I believe fit. I buy stuff, share and feed those who don’t have; stopped bursting crackers since a decade. My 2-bit! πŸ˜€
    (Have I written a whole blog here!!!!!! I hope you don’t mind)
    Wish you and your family A VERY HAPPY & SAFE DIWALI!

  16. Like you the times I miss India is during Diwali and Christmas. Oh! How I miss the lights and sounds and crowd and everything. Yea… but this is the life we chose and happy for that too. Happy Diwali to you and your family. Hope you have a lovely one with your dear ones there. πŸ™‚
    Sheethal recently posted…Random Scribblings …My Profile

  17. Happy Diwali Shantala. You’re doing good. Diwali here is indeed a special time however what was normal for us isn’t normal for our kids even in India. Things aren’t the same here too. So you can take some tiny bit of consolation from that. Each generation has it’s own ‘normal’. What’s important is that they imbibe the festive spirit of the day.
    Obsessivemom recently posted…Stop! Look! Discover!My Profile

  18. I know exactly how it is in foreign land..

    and yes weekends it is .. but to tell you truthfully I find it ridiculous nowadays in india when half the country is celebrating one festival on one day and the other is celebrating it the other day.. how can ONe festival have two dates πŸ™‚

    Happy Diwali to you and family and Everyone around you

    Bikram’s
    Bikram recently posted…Punjab – 2015.My Profile

  19. Home is where the heart is and you make your own traditions. Wish you and your family a happy Diwali
    Bellybytes recently posted…My Diwali- a changing celebration My Profile

  20. Congratulations! Your blog post was selected for Tangy Tuesday Picks edition on November 10, 2015 at BlogAdda.

    Please find it here : http://blog.blogadda.com/2015/11/10/tangy-tuesday-picks-10-november-2015

  21. Happy Diwali dear Shantala! Good that you are taking an off and making this effort. This will be my first Diwali abroad, away from my parents and in laws, will definitely do a little something, have already got the diyas. Still, will miss the ritual of card playing back home and mum’s home cooked food! πŸ˜‰
    Aditi recently posted…Why I Blog?My Profile

  22. Wishing you Happy Diwali. I so miss the celebration in India:)
    Vishal Bheeroo recently posted…Book Review: 60 Writing Prompts and Plots is a must guideMy Profile

  23. Straight out of heart! I could feel how as a mother you are trying to set a good example of tradition for your son. Cheers to that!
    Happy Diwali

  24. Happy Diwalii! I like how you have embraced and accepted the reality of your life and found a way to get around things rather than crib and whine. πŸ™‚
    Pooja recently posted…Kannada gothilla!My Profile

  25. I go through the exact emotions during Bihu, and like you now I too have taken things in my hand. The feeling of it’s not like home never goes away… it can never be the same… but then we too are creating our own homes πŸ™‚ A beautiful post on Diwali. Wish you and your family a very happy Deepavali πŸ™‚
    Rajlakshmi recently posted…Of Extra 5 mins & LaddusMy Profile

  26. I understand what staying away from home and celebrating festivals outside the country means. It goes without zeal and that is the peak time we miss our families. I think you have been thoughtful to continue the practice and making festival memories for your son. Happy and safe Diwali:)

  27. I hope you had a fabulous holiday. What a bitter-sweet experience. I feel that way too sometimes, being away from home–and that’s just a west coast to east coast experience, not a country/culture jump. I do admire you for trying to create a better life for your son.
    Crystal Collier recently posted…Salute! Cheer! Become Immortal?My Profile

  28. Oh, it reminds me how I felt being far from my loved ones during Christmas…. Big hugs to you and happy Diwali sweetie- to you and your family:-)
    Eli recently posted…Be the lightMy Profile

  29. It’s great that you are helping your son to create memories of his own without getting caught in the “It’s not the same as in India” dilemma. πŸ™‚ We do the same. Celebrate festivals in our own unique way. πŸ™‚
    Vinitha recently posted…#MicroblogMondays – Avoiding Confrontation?My Profile

  30. I echo the same feeling…nothing better than being in India on Diwali. Hope i go back for good sometime!
    Alok Singhal recently posted…Sachin, Warne, and other legends in Cricket All-Stars at New York!My Profile

  31. Belated viewing, hence belated yet hearfelt festive wishes. You have overcome your home-sickness for the sake of your little one. Home is where the hearth is. Finding your happiness and space in a new country is no mean feat ma gal….you dunnit!! That’s amazing! Love and Cheers

  32. I know the feeling. But you did great by shunning those sad thoughts and celebrating Diwali for your son and creating fond memories for him. Congratulations for the Tangy Pick πŸ™‚

  33. I can relate to this feeling of missing celebrations while staying abroad for I used to feel completely cut off from festivities whenever I traveled on assignments during the festive periods. Appreciate your efforts to keep alive the tradition by taking small steps in whatever way possible.
    Somali K Chakrabarti recently posted…Self publishing with Amazon KindleMy Profile

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