Who we are

Welcome to the world of celebration,  inspiration, and joy - Welcome to the Diwalifest!  2021 was the year when schools of Acton, Boxborough and Littleton recognized Diwali, festival of lights. This was a huge step towards inclusion. 

This was the culmination of a four year journey led by our mentor - Ms. Deepika Prakash who first appealed to the school committee to give the day off for Diwali in 2017.  

Since the schools were closed for Diwali, we needed something more! A celebration where we  could embrace our heritage and invite everyone to celebrate with us. Every festival has two things in common - people and food.  Diwalifest is for everyone!  We, the organizers, believe in the power of inclusivity, creativity, and, most importantly, fun! Throughout the process of setting up the Diwalifest, we aimed to include a multitude of Diwali-related aspects, such as upbeat music, delicious foods, traditional dances, rangoli (floor art) and more. Our vision was to foster an inclusive environment, where people of all different cultures can come and celebrate this vibrant festival. We also encourage the youth, such as ourselves, to volunteer and help manage the event. No festival is complete without the people who attend. Diwalifest is, and will always be FREE to attend. We hope to see you there!   

What Diwalifest Means to Us

"Just because it hasn't been done before doesn't mean that it can't be done."

I am passionate about community, inclusivity and youth mentorship. I live in Acton with my husband, Gagan and daughter - Dia who is a rising 7th Grader at R.J. Grey. 15 years ago my neighbor invited us for Passover Sedar. We sat around their table read the haggada and ate symbolic foods. It was my first-time eating Matza! Years later, the memory of that act of kindness is still fresh in my mind as if it was just yesterday. There are two things I strongly believe in. 

1. We are a stronger community if we join in each other’s celebration, regardless of our cultural and religious background. 

2. If we truly believe in bringing about a positive change, we must empower and encourage youth leadership. And it is these two values which have been the vision behind Diwalifest. 

At Diwalifest we encourage youth involvement and invite anyone and everyone to be a part of this celebration. We work tirelessly to find small businesses which will make this festival come alive, thus supporting local business while learning about new and fun things. Come, shop, eat, dance and be a part of this beautiful celebration! 

To read more about my 4-year journey from appealing to the school committee to founding Diwalifest, please read this. [Diwali day off appeal -2017] [Diwali is a Day off - 2021

-Deepika Prakash

Hello! My name is Arjun, and I am one of the youth organizers/ volunteers of the Diwalifest. I am a sophomore at the Acton-Boxborough Regional High School, located in Massachusetts. Some of my hobbies include piano, soccer, reading, and more. 

With a passion for preserving traditions and fostering unity, I helped create a festival which captures the most significant aspects of Diwali, and turn it into a local celebration for everyone to enjoy. I believe this mela illuminates the beauty and joy of my culture, which I hope to share with others.

Growing up, I always enjoyed celebrating the beautiful traditions of Diwali with my loved ones, whether we were at the temple, or at home. I will never forget the rich colors, joyful dancing, and elaborate decorations. It was this sense of warmth, love, and unity that motivated me to share the Diwali experience with you today. 

Arjun Mandloi

Hi, I'm Aarya Wachasunder and I'm a sophomore at Littleton High School. I am passionate about international affairs and politics. I have many interests, including working in student government, playing the violin, and swimming. 

As a member of DiwaliFest's core team, I have learned a lot about event-planning, marketing, and most importantly, the value of community and diversity. After growing up with a constant interest in my Indian heritage, I would definitely recommend attending DiwaliFest to celebrate with your community whilst learning more about South Asian culture.

Aarya Wachasunder

I'm Suravi and I'm in 10th grade at ABRHS. I'm passionate about social justice and government and want to increase South Asian/female representation in politics. I'm active in the town govt, the vice president of the Desi Student Alliance at ABRHS, and a senior Girl Scout of New England. My experience being a part of Diwalifest's core team has been seeing the amazing things that can happen when people in a community come together to collaborate on a project. You should attend Diwalifest because it's a fun way to enrich your own understanding of South Asian culture. 

Suravi Bhatia

Hi, my name is Anika and I am currently an 8th grader at RJ grey. I am interested in basketball, cooking/baking, and traveling. 

 I believe that volunteering for Diwalifest will make me feel closer to my family in India. It connects the traditions of my roots, as well as the new traditions we create where I was born and raised.

I would highly recommend attending Diwalifest because you get to celebrate a day that’s special for so many people in our community, make memories, and learn while simultaneously having fun!! 

Anika Mandloi