By Olivia Vita, YES Abroad participant from USA, hosted at Delhi. 

“For me Diwali, the festival of lights, was the festival of food, decorations, family and friends. The days leading up to the festival were just as busy and valuable, I learned all about the story and significance of the festival, attended diwali parties and melas with great food, and even one mela with shopping stalls from states all around India, and strung beautiful lights and flowers around the house with my family. Although no official competition was held my sister and I most definitely conclude that our lights

(Photo Above: During Diwali with host family)

were the best in the society. Even after all of this I still must admit I wasn’t actually sure how the whole day went down. It began with the meticulous creation of a flower rangoli, we all got dressed in traditional Indian, me in the colourful suit my host mother had gifted me, and greeted sweet bearing guests throughout the day. We lit candles and diyas going up all the stairs from the bottom to the top of the house and illuminating any dark place, after sundown we performed a very complicated and intriguing pooja for the goddess Laxmi. We spent the rest of the night with our friends, eating and chatting on the balcony while illegal fireworks burst all around us. Festivals like these are the moments when I really realize that an opportunity like this one may never again in my life come, and how very amazing an opportunity it is.”