Trimmed with traditional holiday adornments, including diya (small clay lamps) and a picture of the Kaaba (Islam’s holiest place), the Tagart Memorial Chapel was filled with beautiful music and meaningful stories as students in prefirst through fourth grade celebrated Diwali and Eid ul-Adha on Tuesday, November 8.
In traditional ceremonial dress, fourth grade parent Sunita Govind, accompanied by her daughter Laya N. and classmate Megha C., told the history of Diwali. First grade parent Umbreen Khalidi-Majeed shared the history of Eid ul-Adha. During the program, all of the students in the audience joined in singing “Aarti,” a beautiful Hindu song and “Pillars of Islam,” an original song written by Lower School Director of Performing Arts Carole Truitt.
“We decided to move the celebrations of Diwali and of Eid from our December ‘Celebration of Peace of Light’ to a time that was closer to the actual dates of these holidays,” said Head of Lower School Noreen Lidston. “In this way, we hoped to be more respectful to the Hindu and Muslim traditions, and to provide a more authentic portrayal of the customary celebrations. With help from our most knowledgeable parents, students, Mrs. Truitt, and Mr. Grega, the program could not have been more successful or more beautiful,” added Lidston.
Diwali, also known as the Hindu “Festival of Lights,” began on October 26 this year. The celebration involves the lighting of small clay lamps filled with oil to signify the triumph of good over evil. The Islamic holiday of Eid ul-Adha, observed on November 6 this year, is a “Festival of Sacrifice” that encourages gifts to the needy. It concludes the celebration of the Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca, an important obligation for adult Muslims.
The special chapel program closed with Laya singing in the Hindu language, a song that called for more understanding and peace among people. “It was a truly meaningful and beautiful celebration of these two holidays,” said Govind.