Diwali @ PASE

An Interview with Ms. Maj


Vidhi Rana, Advertisement Manager

Every Fall, most of the Hindu population celebrates Diwali, the festival of light. It is one of Hinduism’s most important festivals dedicated to the worship of Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth. It is also considered the New Year for those in the Hindu culture in which friends and families greet each other and give good wishes for the new year ahead of them.

Diwali is celebrated for 5 days with the third day being the main Diwali festival. Most of the Hindu families make traditional food such as diyas and rangolis. 

At the Passaic Academy for Science and Engineering, Ms. Majmundar hosted a Diwali meeting and invited students to participate in cultural activities which included making rangoli, decorating diyas, having cultural snacks, and decorating bulletin boards with main aspects of Diwali. 

PASE, and the Passaic community at large, has a growing Indian population and it is important for their culture to be seen and experienced.

¨We have a very diverse community in Passaic and in order to promote the diversity, we have to look at all different cultures within our community, for example we celebrate The Day of the Dead, a Hispanic tradition that is very unique to Mexican culture. Passaic has very large Indian population so we need to make sure those students are also recognized.¨ 

Majmundar believes having cultural activities or celebrations in school helps students to become more diverse in thought and develop a worldwide view. She hopes that students at PASE have the opportunity to immerse themselves in a variety of different cultures including the many Indian cultures.

“In Passaic, as a whole, Indian culture is very much acknowledged and the community which is here, especially the Rana community does allow for a lot of opportunities to participate in Indian related activities and events; however, in PASE, it is not represented in depth. Students are now starting to become aware of other cultures and activities and also the administration is very welcome for students to learn and explore other cultures.”

Ms. Maj at home

At home, Majmundar  made rangoli with her niece and nephew like the one students made in school. She also made other traditional Diwali food such as ghughra ( a fried pastry filled with sweet stuffing), mathiya (fried like tortilla made out of lentils flour and spices), puri (deep-fried bread made from whole-wheat flour and different spices). 

Unfortunately (not really ), she attended a wedding and could not celebrate the way she did in past years, but she did eat a lot of Diwali snacks and participated in a few Diwali activities.

“My Diwali celebration was really fun. I was able to burn fire crackers, I helped my mom make some traditional Diwali food, and even though I didn’t know how to make rangolis that good, I had to make one because everyone at my house was busy with either Diwali preparations, or work. Unfortunately, this year I could not go to greet my family at their house, but some close family and friends came over to wish good wishes for my family.”