Joyous Diwali Celebration at Arya Samaj of Houston

Children’s singing program with Raja Banga on the tabla and Smriti Srivastava on the harmonium.

HOUSTON: On October 22nd, 2022, members of Arya Samaj Greater Houston joyously celebrated Diwali Yajna. Diwali is the auspicious Hindu festival of lights which celebrates and symbolizes the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness, and new beginnings. Recognized as India’s biggest and most important holiday of the year, ASGH 500+ family members gathered to celebrate this wondrous festival with a variety of children’s Ramayana cultural showcases, delicious food, and fun contests. The air was buzzing with excitement that had been missing due to COVID protocols in previous years. The program began with Havan led by Acharya Suryananda ji and a beautiful aarti from Smriti ji. All guests were welcomed with a tikka by Arya Samaj youth initiating the celebrations. The venue was decorated vivaciously with warm and vibrant colors; the guests dressed in traditional ethnic wear. With the efforts of the AYM youth, volunteers, event coordinators, and DAV teachers, the celebration continued flawlessly. After prayers, several events took place such as the DAVSS costume contest, wowing attendees with the creativity and artistic visions of the youth groups while celebrating characters and the story of the Ramayana. A song in Sanskrit was delightfully performed by the DAVMES, engaging the audience to sing and clap along.

The event continued with a variety of performances such as the DAVSS bhajan, dance, and tabla performances.  These students dedicate time every Sunday to attend Arya Samaj, practicing these showcases to share their talent and brighten the ASGH community. These performances also serve as opportunities for the students to showcase what they have learned in elective courses they take over the course of the year. Throughout the evening, everyone was anticipating the winners of the annual raffle contest, where anyone who had purchased tickets from Arya Samaj youth had a chance of winning from a variety of fun prizes for all ages such as a Ring Video Doorbell and PlayMobil Scooby Doo. All the proceeds from this raffle will go to AYM community service projects, encouraging the youth groups in their ongoing community service efforts. Alongside these performances and showcases were delicious and mouthwatering food stands with dishes such as pav bhaji, chhole bhature, dahi vada, and aloo kachori.

The night ended with a spectacular display of fireworks and sparklers. As last year’s event had to adhere to strict COVID-19 protocols to ensure everyone’s safety, attendees were ecstatic to be able to finally return to celebrating this sparkling event to the fullest. It is through events like this that Arya Samaj Greater Houston brings together the community where everyone feels welcome and that they belong. Nights like the Diwali celebration have a special way of bringing together the most different of people, immersing oneself in rich Indian culture, and creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Arya Samaj AYM high school group,

Aastha Bharati