When Diwali Met Halloween: “Spook–a–wali”
Thursday, 20th October, 2022,
Dr. Pillai Global Academy, New Panvel
Corridors brimmed with students trick-or-treating as they donned their extravagant Diwali outfits. The sweet aroma of Jalebis and candies lingered in the air. Opulent diyas and pumpkin lanterns lit up the dim hallways. This is how Dr. Pillai Global Academy geared up for the HOWDI celebration. This year, with the auspicious Diwali and spooky Halloween within a few days of each other, Dr. Pillai Global Academy – New Panvel celebrated “HOWDI 2022” on 20th October, 2022 with much fun and fanfare.
Although Halloween is portrayed as a “spooky” festival, it is, at its core, an age-old Celtic festival in which people dress up in frightful costumes and light eerie pumpkin lanterns to fend off bad spirits. In a similar fashion, Diwali is an auspicious occasion that commemorates the triumph of virtue over evil across various Indian mythical legends. While they appear to contrast one another on the surface, at their crux, both festivals reflect the same notion: warding off your demons, be they internal or external. HOWDI was a spectacular fusion of Diwali and Halloween. Everything, ranging from the eerie yet edifying decorations to the event’s catchy name, brilliantly expressed this fusion. This event, which was organised by DPGA New Panvel’s Cultural Department, succeeded in honouring the multicultural aspect of this fusion as it stayed true to our school’s vision of “developing local actions to create global options”.
Students donned elegant ethnic wear and eerie Halloween costumes, equally relishing the spirits of both festivals. A special photo booth of horrors adorned with lights was created by the ‘Creative Expressions Club’ to capture our joyous moments on this memorable day. From the diya decoration and lantern-making competitions held for Grades 1-5 to the puzzling murder mystery hunts arranged for Grades 6-12, HOWDI 2022 never failed to enchant the students all day long. Incidentally, this day was also the final day of First Term Examinations for Grades 6 – 9. So, after two weeks of relentless examinations, this joyous celebration of HOWDI helped students unwind as they spent memorable time with their cherished friends and teachers, etching long lasting memories before we parted for Diwali vacations.
Honoring Indian culture, class potlucks were hosted throughout the school. These potlucks featured an array of delectable foods from across all cultures which were delightful to the students and teachers alike. To wrap up this enthralling event, Grades 1-5 enjoyed a special movie screening in the auditorium. The assembly hall, on the other hand, was dripping with swag as students from Grades 6 – 12 and teachers put on a fashion show, sporting their extravagant outfits as they walked down the runway with the enthusiastic audience cheering them on. As the assembly hall boomed with catchy tunes, the secondary section rocked the dance floor with their teachers, showcasing their zealous dance moves. The event came to an emotional end as we bid farewell to our beloved ex-principal, Ms. Shraddha Sardesai with teary eyes and wholesome messages.
HOWDI 2022 truly depicted how we, as a community, can share our similarities and celebrate our differences. As rightly quoted by Mahatma Gandhi, “our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilization” and this celebration did just that. It was a unique cross-cultural exchange, commemorating the two festivals with fervour and gaiety, truly depicting how both celebrations seek to maintain the balance between good and evil, akin to the two sides of a Ying-Yang.
Author: Akshara Nair,