It all started with a “healthy” dose of mommy guilt. I actually hate that term and generally do a good job of avoiding it, but in this case, it fits. I was laying wide awake, past 2 am, regretting that afternoon cup of coffee as random thoughts buzzed in my head.
The boxes that remained unpacked from our recent move… how to manage my team at work… what friends I wanted to check-in with that week… meal planning for trying to go keto… what new learning toy to get for my son, S. My thoughts drift to the Christmas tree that hadn’t been put up yet – argh, it was almost February!
I started feeling that nagging sense of guilt. Yet again, I went all out for Christmas, but hardly did anything for Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights, arguably the most important Hindu celebration in the world. We’re not Christian but we celebrate Christmas in an American, secular way and it’s one of my FAVORITE holidays. The décor, family gatherings, lights, Christmas shopping, smells, carols, parties – love all of it! I spend weeks deciding on how I want to decorate the Christmas tree for the year, picking a beautiful color theme and buying the annual family ornament. We generally host Christmas for my extended family and we all gather to open gifts, play games and eat a ton of delicious food. This year, everyone was off so spent 2 whole nights with us, which S absolutely LOVED!
However, for Diwali, which is a BIG HUGE celebration for Hindus all over the world, I did the bare minimum. Quick customary prayers and placing lit diyas (candles) around the house. On Diwali evening, we went to my aunt’s house for fireworks, S got presents (adults exchanged money!) and a delicious family meal. But other than that, it was a typical Wednesday - it didn’t even occur to me to take it off as a vacation day.
So no wonder our son doesn’t get excited about it. He doesn’t appreciate the huge cultural significance of the holiday. Partially because he’s only 3, but partially because I don’t either. Growing up, even though we celebrated Diwali with other families and had Diwali parties, I still always looked more forward to Christmas. It’s so easy to celebrate when it’s all around you and while we’ll always celebrate Christmas, I want to make sure my son values his Indian heritage as well.
More random thoughts buzz in my head.
I thought about how we could be more intentional in celebrating Diwali. We should absolutely take the day off from work and school to celebrate. We should fill the house with Diwali decorations, gather with our family, and most importantly, celebrate by doing acts of charity. I then went down a Google rabbit hole looking for Diwali activities for kids. While I found DIY craft ideas, I realized there weren’t any ready to go type craft kits like you can find for Christmas. Curious, I started looking at other cultural holidays from different countries, and noticed much of the same. While there were a few kids’ books, DIY activities and decorations, I felt like there was something missing.
The seed was planted and I had to know more… it was past 3 am and I lay wide awake – the perfect time for random thoughts.