November 28, 2023

Celebrating Diwali

The Diwali celebrations at the Oakwood School’s elementary and secondary campuses in November were truly vibrant and memorable, bringing together students, faculty, and staff to commemorate the Hindu festival of lights.

At the elementary campus, the celebration kicked off with a lively welcome at the entrance, where a skilled Dhol player set the festive tone and welcomed students into the gymnasium. Once seated, students were treated to captivating performances by performers from BollyPopLA. Aakansha Maheshwari, the founder of BollyPopLA, took the stage with a mesmerizing display of folk dances from various regions in India. Accompanied by a talented member of her dance company, the duo showcased the rich cultural diversity and traditions associated with Diwali.

Oakwood parent, Anil Punyapu led a beautiful presentation about the story of Diwali, its history, origins, and how it is celebrated across India and worldwide. Akshay ’30, Samara ’31, and Leela ’31 stood on stage and shared some of their favorite Diwali memories and moments. 6th grade students joined their friends on stage, followed by the South Asian parent volunteers joining Aakansha for a parent performance! The assembly ended with K-6 students, faculty, and parents joining BollyPopLA in a 20-minute ‘dance-a-long’ workshop.

The color, energy, and joy-filled performances left a lasting impression on the elementary school community, fostering an appreciation for the cultural significance of this special festival and South Asian heritage and culture. Many thanks to Asha Kumar, who chaired the assembly, Anil Punyapu, and all of the parent volunteers who helped to bring this celebration to life!




At the secondary campus, students, faculty, and staff gathered for a lively afternoon at the OSL and enjoyed performances by two talented dhol players, dancing, henna tattoos, and traditional Diwali treats.  Students also took part in crafting and decorating their own Diya Lamps, symbolic oil lamps lit during the festival of Diwali to usher in prosperity for the new year. These events not only celebrated light triumphing over darkness but also fostered cultural appreciation and community spirit within the Oakwood School.