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2017-2018 Archives by Nidhi P '21 News World

Diwali: The Festival of Lights

In BSGE, there are many ethnicities and many different cultures from all around the world. However, in the past week, there was a very popular Indian holiday known as Diwali or Deepavali. This is one of the biggest holidays that is celebrated throughout India. Even so, over the centuries, this holiday has also been celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and Buddhists, regardless of religion. Diwali is as important to Hindus as Christmas is to Christians.

The meaning behind Diwali holds much significance and has a metaphorical explanation behind it. The word Diwali/Deepavali has been retained from the row (avali) and clay lamps (deepa) that are placed throughout homes. For Hindus, this symbolizes the light that is forcing away the darkness. In short, it conveys that good triumphs over evil.

Correlating this to India, Diwali is celebrated with great grandeur and lots of noise. People have been accustomed for generations to using fireworks and distributing presents, as well as wearing/buying new clothes. Even in the USA, the majority of the Indian population practice such customs. However, the only difference is that the fireworks may not be used everywhere. Diwali is a fantastic sight—homes are illuminated with beautiful lights which would be an exquisite sight in the dark night.

As many BSGE students celebrate Christmas, and shortly thereafter, New Year’s, Diwali is a similar concept. In specific, Diwali serves to be a Christmas as well as a New Year. For Indians, the day after Diwali starts the New Year in the calendar. Therefore, this illustrates a connection that many can feel towards Diwali. In religious terms, during this time, different Hindu goddesses and gods are worshipped, and the main one that is worshipped is Lakshmi.

Diwali is a very enlightening holiday in the Hindu culture and creates a lively environment. This holiday has a lot of splendor and is celebrated throughout the world. The holiday is known as the “Festival of Lights”, a suiting name, as lights cover every inch of the streets. Diwali is known to be India’s biggest holiday and will continue to be so.

 

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2016-2017 Archives by Samantha V '18 Culture News World

What it is Like to Live in a Developing Country For Two Weeks

Two weeks in the Philippines. This may not seem like a lot of time for a vacation, but it was perfect for an eye-opening experience. While I was in the Philippines, I learned about how different the local lifestyle was from the my lifestyle in New York. There were many moments when I felt extremely grateful for how privileged I was, but there were also many times when I wished I could have these Filipino experiences everyday.

The first thing I noticed was how much traffic there was. While New York has its fair share of traffic, it is nothing compared to the never-ending traffic on the streets of the Philippines. Almost every hour seemed to be rush hour and it was almost impossible to get anywhere on time. Whether taking a car, a tricycle, or jeepney, commuting was definitely a struggle. Mass transportation such as trains weren’t used as often because they were inconvenient and inefficient. There were a limited number of stops and the trains didn’t reach many areas. This causes more people to drive, which in turn creates more traffic. From talking with family members, I learned that they were used to the traffic and it has become a part of their everyday life. They learned to always expect traffic, so they tend to leave a lot earlier just to get to work or school on time. A possible solution that was passed in 2003 was the Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program, more commonly known as coding. Still used today, what the program does is that it restricts certain vehicles from using main roads at specific times based on the last digit of its license plate. Even with coding in use, traffic is still very prominent because of the lack of mass public transportation.