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November Spotlight: Diwali

For Hindus around the world, and especially in India, Diwali is one of the biggest and most important festivals of the year. A five-day observance, ending on the day of Diwali, the celebration signifies the victory of good over evil, light over darkness, and knowledge over ignorance. This festival of lights is celebrated by 1.2 billion Hindus, and often by people from the Jain, Sikh, and Buddhist faiths.

For Aparna Gupta, associate director at the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, this holiday holds particular significance. "Diwali marks the beginning of the Hindu new year, and inspires observers to reflect on the light within each of us to make a difference to and bring positive change into this world. I especially love teaching my kids about the meaning of Diwali and making treats and crafts to connect them with their cultural heritage."

The days leading up to Diwali are festive, as observers clean and decorate their homes, gather with family, and enjoy meals and sweets. Music and fireworks often fill the air in Indian cities, and schools and offices are typically closed for the week. Diwali is celebrated in unique ways across the Hindu diasporas—from Singapore, Kenya, Canada, the Caribbean, London, and of course, in the United States. "At the Straus Institute, many of our students and alumni hail from different parts of the Indian diaspora and celebrate Diwali in varied ways, reflecting their distinct upbringings and perspectives," says Gupta. "It delights me that even across cultural and linguistic differences, we can share traditions and learn new ways to observe the festival."

The themes of Diwali intersect in meaningful ways with Pepperdine University's mission to equip students for lives of purpose, service, and leadership. "Diwali centers on the light each of us carry and our ability to be a source for good, serving our friends and community members who may be facing challenges," Gupta observes. "The Caruso Law community has done that time and time again, especially during the pandemic. Diwali reminds us that even in the hardest of times, goodness can prevail over negativity and invites us to be an integral part of that process."

All members of the Caruso Law community are invited to celebrate Diwali with the University's Indian Students Association on Friday, November 5 at 5:00 PM in Mullin Town Square.

Event details may be found at Diwali Celebration