Every year, MobileIron celebrates Diwali with much fanfare. I sat down with Shikha Khetan, who co-hosted the celebrations in our Mountain View, California office this year, to learn more about what makes Diwali special for her.
What is Diwali? What is it about?
Diwali, also known as Deepavali, means “row of lights.” It’s a celebration of good triumphing over evil — a victory of light over darkness — as well as a celebration of a good harvest. Diwali is all about having fun with friends and family, exchanging sweets and gifts, wearing new clothes, enjoying delicious feasts and watching fireworks.
There are various stories about Diwali. In northern India, Hindus celebrate the return of the God Rama and Goddess Sita from 14 years of exile to the city of Ayodhya, after defeating the evil king Ravana! In the south, people celebrate it as the day Lord Krishna defeated the demon Narakasura. In western India, the festival marks the day Lord Vishnu sent the demon King Bali to rule the netherworld.
Diwali is also celebrated to honour the Hindu goddess of wealth, Lakshmi, and is believed to bring good fortune and prosperity in the coming year. Idols of Lord Ganesh and Goddess Lakshmi are placed side by side for the prayers and rituals.
How does MobileIron celebrate Diwali?
Diwali at MobileIron is a grand event! Employees wear traditional Indian clothes and the office looks very festive, with lots of great decorations around the common area where the event takes place.
As food is critical to celebrating Diwali, we have delicious Indian food catered on this day. After lunch, we gather at the common area and begin the celebration by getting to know a brief history about Diwali. We then play a few fun games like decorating diyas, making Ganesh Idols or making rangoli with lentils.
The game that employees most look forward to is the pani poori eating competition. It’s almost become a tradition! The game is all about who can eat the most pani poori in 30 seconds. It’s fun to participate in as you get to eat the yummy paani pooris. It’s also very entertaining to watch. We also host a best dressed competition.
And then comes the most awaited part of the celebration - the dance! Participants practice for the dance performance at least 1-2 weeks in advance. We had a great performance this year too! The best part is that you get to know hidden talents about your own colleagues that you had no idea about. We then have an open dance floor and everyone comes and dances together.
It is all about having a great time with your colleagues and celebrating the festival.
How do you and your family celebrate Diwali?
My family generally starts celebrating a week before, when we start cleaning the house and putting out lights and other traditional Indian decorations. On the main Diwali day, dinner is the most important meal and preparation starts in the morning. We cook traditional Indian dishes and sweets. Along with that, my kids and I make rangoli (floor decoration with colored sand or powder ) with different patterns for the entrance and inside the house. We also clean the mandir (Hindu place of worship) and put light and diyas (oil lamps) around it. We get dressed in Indian clothes and light the diyas in the evening. We perform pooja by lighting 51 diyas and offering sweets to God. This is followed by dinner and desserts. We also light some sparklers after dinner, which is followed by music and dance.
What is your favorite part of Diwali?
My favorite part of Diwali is putting up all the decorations that are generally packed up for the whole year and lighting diyas and of course eating good food. I also enjoy planning the design for rangoli and then making it.
What are some other interesting facts about Diwali?
It is traditionally celebrated over five days, which are known as Dhanteras, Choti Diwali, Diwali, Govardhan Pooja and Bhai Dooj.
Diwali is a global festival. Other than India, it is also a national holiday in these countries : Trinidad & Tobago, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Guyana, Surinam, Singapore, Malaysia and Fiji.
“Shubh Deepavali” is a customary greeting associated with Diwali. It means, “Have an auspicious diwali.”
Shubh Deepavali to everyone from MobileIron!!