How Does Your Family Celebrate Diwali?
From November 10th to 14th this year, people across India celebrated Diwali. Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains observe this “festival of lights” for different reasons, and some of our families who have adopted from India enjoy it as a cultural experience.
We asked people on our Instagram and Facebook accounts how they celebrated this holiday, and we received such wonderful responses that we decided to create an entire blog post to share their photos and stories. While we’re not suggesting that a family who doesn’t want to observe it should, we think someone looking for ideas might benefit from this inspiration!
The Cleveland, Ohio, Celebration
To begin, if you don’t live around Cleveland, Ohio, you might wish you did! Apparently, they have a very strong adoption community with many families who have adopted from India represented. America World adoptive moms Hannah Bradford, Emily Hale, and Molly McRill sent photos of a Diwali celebration that included over 30 kids, 13 of whom had been adopted from India. They even had two Japanese foreign exchange students come to experience Diwali for the first time!
Hannah Bradford reports, “We made cookies, colored mandalas, lit sparklers, ate a lot of Indian food, and celebrated the birthday of a child waiting to come home from India.”
The Bagot Family
If you don’t have an adoption community like the one in Cleveland, you can always invite your friends or family to share in the fun.
Paige Bagot says, “We brought our son Jacob home from India in 2017. And are currently in the India Program again, hoping to bring our daughter home sometime next year.
“We have always tried to honor our son’s Indian heritage through music, food, storybooks, and holidays. We recently invited friends and family to celebrate major Indian holidays, such as Diwali and Holi.
“Although these holidays derive from Hindu beliefs, we do our best to tie the individual themes into our Christian values.
“This year, we celebrated Diwali with extended family. We had southern Indian food, music, and sparklers. We even created art inspired by rangoli designs. Diwali is such a wonderful holiday to spend with family and friends.
“Although we are still learning, we feel so fortunate to be able to celebrate and share our children’s culture with those closest to us.”
The Burke Family
You can also make Diwali a celebration for just your family.
Carrie Burke sends this super cute photo with an update, “Hadley was adopted in April 2019 at two. She will turn seven on Saturday!
“This year, we celebrated Diwali by dressing up in our favorite Indian clothes, having a dance party to Indian music, and eating a huge dinner full of our Indian favorites.
“Hadley’s favorite doll, Priya, also got a new sari this year.
“Hadley’s teacher allowed her to donate a book on Diwali to her first-grade classroom library. She could share her book and answer questions from her classmates on Diwali.
“As a Christian family, we learn about Diwali’s religious roots and history, but we also talk about how Jesus overcame evil and is the light of our world.”
The Harder Family
The Harder family made a commitment to their son that they would celebrate his culture, and they’re keeping that promise!
Jess Harder writes, “When we began our adoption journey, we knew we had loved the child God had planned for us way before we ever knew which country we would adopt from and what our child’s name would be. Our love only grew during each step of the process until we finally brought our son home, and it continues to grow more and more. We also made a promise to our son well before we knew who he was. We promised to honor the birth culture of our child.
“Though the Hindu community celebrates Diwali, we, as a Christian family, plan to blend aspects of the cultural dimension of the festival with our own Christian beliefs.
“Our family started a tradition this year where we will gift our little boy a light-themed toy every year. We are enjoying sweets and delicious Indian food. We love learning about the holiday and plan to set off fireworks. We decorated our house with balloons and diyas, too. We will join our Hindu Community to celebrate Diwali at our local temple with dinner and fireworks.
“Most importantly, we take the time to hug those around us and reflect on the meaning of what Diwali celebrates… the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance.”
The Pereyra Family
The Pereyra family just completed their home study and decided to join the festivities.
Danielle Pereyra says, “We were blessed to be invited to celebrate with another family also adopting from India. They are in the same stage of the adoption process as we are! This sweet family opened their home to us and shared many things about India and India’s culture because they both grew up there.
“I see us celebrating this with our family from now on. It’s another day to remember Jesus’ light and goodness over the darkness of evil and the new beginning of Life in Him as we believe and trust in Him!”
In John 8:12, Jesus says, “I Am the light of the world; whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”
Thank You for Sharing!
Thank you to all of the families who shared their stories with us. We hope you enjoyed seeing each unique approach to this holiday.
If you haven’t already, we invite you to consider adopting a child from India or our other adoption programs. You can also give to our Season of Hope campaign to help us provide post-adoption programs and support to families like these.