Celebrating Diwali in America

This time I want to celebrate Diwali with pomp and pride in the US. Something as a celebration of my multicultural life.

Have you any plans? Diwali was important in India, but in the hustle bustle of US life, for me it had got kind of buried in just some Happy Diwali emails and ecards. I would think of lighting lamps, and occasionally tuck into Rocky Road in honor of Diwali, but never really got into the spirit of it.

Recently, however, I have been pleasantly surprised to see Diwali becoming more mainstream. The kids school calendar has it marked as a festival. ‘The Office’ last year had an episode on Diwali that generated a lot of curiosity in the workplace. And then there was the news about New York adding Diwali to its list of parking holidays. Little steps here and there.

In keeping with the spirit of celebrating multiculuralism, I wanted this years’ diwali celebrations to be a little more and a little more public.  So I stocked up on fireworks – just a few phool jhadis and such – around fourth of July and learnt that in the US Diwali has the second highest sales of fireworks the year round!

So I am stocking up on sweets and Diyas from the Indian store. We have plans to do some fireworks in our backyard.

My front yard already has lighted pumpkins, and I will add the Diwali lights on that day.

I want to explain traditions to the kids, and use this as an excuse for house cleaning. Maybe dress the kids in new clothes too.

My friend who is a working mom plans to put up a Diwali card in her cubicle. And keep out a box of candies and treats for the coworkers – what better way to get some office PR for Diwali than candy!

How about a Diwali lunch with some friends at work, some not Indian at least…

Just steps in making it mainstream, and being proud of being multicultural!

I am sure a lot of you do a lot more. Do add to this list!

Happy celebrations…

Last 5 posts by Amrita Bakshi


  1. joysree

    very good idea.children will enjoy the fire work.you can make them learn how to be careful with the fire work at the same time to enjoy it.

  2. Ranajit

    It is interesting to know that kids school calender has it marked as a festival. Hope kids are explained a little more about what is Diwali on that day along with distribution of sweets.

  3. sands

    Our 4 year old’s school celebrates Diwali. We Indian parents will take the charge and organize a party providing India food, diya and ronagoli decorations, providing bindis and bangles and doing a slide show explaining the concept. Though we all decided not t do it on Diwali day for so we can have our rituals at home also.

  4. Amrita

    Thank you all for your comments. yes, the kids will like the fireworks. And will try to explain the concept as well. Sands, I love that your school celebrates it – that is wonderful. I like the idea of doing a slide show and giving bindis and bangles.

  5. Yasmin

    A very Happy Diwali to you all!
    We’ve been in America for the past 8yrs, but never really celebrated Diwali..(just attended a few parties..)
    But this year the boys turned 3yrs old, and now I want to make a “conscious effort to instil traditions”…So I’m having a pooja at home, will light some diyas in the evening, & make some kheer… It’s amazing how ‘Indian’ I’ve become after having my twins!

  6. Amrita

    Yasmin, that is such a true observation. Kids make us become advocates of our traditions and the joys they have brought us, and makes us forget we once thought they were things imposed by parents 🙂
    A very happy Diwali to you and your boys.

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