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Bal Vihar of St. Louis Celebrated Diwali Festival

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ST LOUIS, MO- Center for Indian Cultural Education – Bal Vihar of St. Louis our best wishes to everyone in US, India and the rest of the world as we enter the Hindu Calendar Samvat Year 2077.

The Bal Vihar of St. Louis, a nonprofit organization which promotes Indian culture to children, has celebrated the Diwali festival for over 29 years. The Balvihar community assists their students to understand other cultures and religions by teaching them about the Indian culture, as well as celebrating the Indian festivities. One of the Indian festivals, Deepavali or known as Diwali or Festival of Light, is Bal Vihar’s most celebrated festivals. In the past years Balvihar had the opportunity to showcase the festival of lights, Diwali, by celebrating with pujas, diyas, and fireworks.

Given current pandemic environment, the Bal Vihar school held virtual Diwali celebration keeping in mind the safety and well-being of our families and students. At the beginning of the ceremony, a youth group student led the event, summarizing the significance of Diwali in our lives. The event continued with religious ceremony facilitated by a Hindu priest in St. Louis. Many students and their families joined the ceremony from the comfort of their homes via Zoom. The children followed the priest in performing puja at their home using clay diyas they made in their previous class. The puja started with short prayers, followed by an arti. Even though we all missed being around other families/students, the ability to see others dressed up in their beautiful culture attire made up for some of that. It was probably the next best thing we could do besides being together in person. At the end of puja when doing Aarti, everyone joined together to sing making the chorus fill our homely atmosphere will lots of positive vibes.

Year 2020 has been unlike any other that any of us witnessed. We all prayed collectively for the situation all over the world to improve quickly so we can return to some semblance of normalcy. There are so many lessons that we learnt this year. We practiced one of them on the biggest festival for Bal Vihar families by being together virtually and participating in one grand ceremony feeling the presence of each other. It was good to see our students being able to smile and enjoy the ceremony to make the most of it.

Be safe and follow guidelines issued by your local authorities and CDC to keep COVID-19 at arm’s length from you and your loved ones. We are hoping that very soon we will be able to celebrate such events in person again.

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