Question 1: what do you know about the festival Diwali?
Answer: It is a beautiful festival which is happy and joyful. Kids wear new clothes, and the goddess Laxmi and Lord Ganesh are worshipped.
Question 2: how do you react when someone comes over at your place on Diwali?
Answer: we really love it. We distribute sweets and gifts and overall, we have a great time.
Question 1: what do you think about Diwali and do people in your community celebrate Diwali?
Answer: we feel quite happy and joyous when other people celebrate Diwali with such cheer, we absolutely love it, and sometimes we celebrate a little with them as well!
Question 2: what are your thoughts on Navratri? Do you know how others celebrate Navratri?
Answer: No, honestly I don’t know much about it, but when someone celebrates it, we feel good and we also join them and help with the preparations.
Question 3: how do you feel when someone from your society comes and gives you a gift?
Answer: we feel quite excited and we are filled with gratitude towards them.
PHOTOS OF NAVRATRI CELEBRATION IN SCHOOL
In Podar, Navratri is celebrated by playing garba (dance of Navratri) on the 6th floor hall of our school.
We are allowed to dress in traditional and ethnic clothes to add to the festive mood. Prizes are given for best costume and best
dancer every year for Navratri. We are given snacks and drinks. We are also given chocolates as in the Indian tradition sweets are a symbol of joy.
Students along with their teachers all dance on the
beats and tunes of ‘Dandiya’ very devotedly with their heart out creating a vibrant and exuberant show. Students are told about the importance of nine days of Navratri and about the
‘nine forms’ of Goddess Durga and how Navratri celebration symbolizes victory over evil. The whole event is organized by the PTA (Parents Teachers Association).
During Diwali, the classes and corridors in the school are decorated, the school is filled with Diyas and paper lanterns made by the students. A special prayer is conducted. An announcement is given by the principal of our school telling us about Diwali. We are given snacks and beverages. To make the students understand the importance of Diwali, Teachers explain how the festival spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, and hope over despair. Both
Teachers and students enjoy the Diwali celebrations wholeheartedly. The teachers and students are given a brief vacation of 1 week.
PART 2: COMPARISON REPORT
We got on a video conference with the group in Netherlands, from the school Het Lyceum, Rotterdam, and compared our research by asking and answering the following questions:
Question 1: How far along are you with the research?
Our counterparts in Netherlands had made the same progress as us with the research, with both of our groups being left with only the comparison report and self-reflection.
Question 2: How many people did you interview?
The group in Netherlands interviewed a total of 6 people for their research, 3 of whom were grandparents and 3 of them belonged to minorities, whereas our group interviewed 4 people, 2 grandparents and 2 people from minorities.
Question 3: which religion did the minorities you chose to interview belong to?
For the interview, they chose people belonging to the Muslim community, the Catholic community, as well as the people who did not believe in a particular religion.
We chose to interview a woman belonging to the Sikh community and a man belonging to the Muslim community.
Question 4: which festivals did you choose?
They chose a festival called ‘Sinterklaas’ which solely revolves around little children- in this festival, a man visits and distributes gifts to each child. The second festival chosen by them was a Muslim festival celebrated after Ramadan (fasting for a whole month).
The festivals chosen by our group are the widely celebrated festivals of ‘Diwali’ and ‘Navratri’.
Question 5: Were you able to celebrate any of the chosen festivals during the pandemic?
Sinterklaas was not celebrated by them as it is mainly for children younger than them, and the sacrifice after Ramadan was not celebrated either because of the pandemic, however, they hope to celebrate it in 2021 in May after Ramadan.
For us, most of the people could not gather to dance and celebrate Navratri, and even Diwali was celebrated within the confines of our own houses.
Question 6: could you tell us something about the traditions associated with the festivals you chose and whether they have changed as compared to your grandparents’ time?
Their answer to this question was that nothing has really changed for them as there are not any traditions associated with these festivals, it is mostly just about family coming together and spending time.
Diwali and Navratri, the festivals chosen by us, both have a rich history of traditions associated with them. Diwali is celebrated to mark the homecoming of Lord Ram, with his wife Sita and brother Lakshman, back to his kingdom of Ayodhya after 14 years spent in the forest. Navratri is celebrated for a total of 9 days, marking the victory of Goddess Durga over the demon Mahishashura.
Self Reflection #1:
For me, there was a little bit of uncertainty associated with the EUMIND program at the start for it had never been conducted on a completely online platform before. However, much to my surprise, there were absolutely no hitches or obstacles in communication, be it with our own schoolteachers or with our counterparts abroad. However, it was not always smooth sailing from the inception. Our group took a little time to break the ice and start working like a cohesive unit, mainly because none of us have met each other in real life. Once we got over our initial hesitation, we got to know each other better and learned that our skills complement one another. Every member was more than willing to pull their own weight in the team and that is one of the factors which contributed to our team’s successful communication and ability to meet deadlines. Our counterparts in Netherlands were quite warm and were always up for interacting with us, which made our experience much more enjoyable. Granted, there were network connectivity issues galore, but we did not face any major problems during the course of the EUMIND program.
- Aabhya, Group Leader.
Self Reflection #2:
For me, I had never experienced an exchange program and for the first time the EUMIND program was being conducted on a online platform .However, we had no problems communicating with other our teammates ,our teachers and our counterparts abroad. It took a little time for me to get comfortable with my teammates mainly because none of us have met each other in real life but once we got to know each other better, we became good friends. Every member spent hours working and contribute to the team and that is one of the factors which contributed to our team’s successful communication and ability to meet deadlines. Our counterparts in Netherlands were quite were really sweet and friendly and were always for interacting with us, which made our experience much more enjoyable. This was an amazing experience and I enjoyed it completely.
- Anoushka, Group Member.
Self Reflection #3
I decided to take part in the EUMIND program in 11th grade for I wanted to know about different nationalities. This program was quite fascinating and made me interact more with my classmates. Every team member played their own role, we supported each other, learned new things and gained insights into the Dutch culture. The EUMIND Program was different this year as we were more on our computers than outside our homes. We were constantly messaging and calling each other. I was doing most of the editing, right now I have developed quite an interest in editing.
It would have been much better if there was no pandemic, we would have been much closer to each other.
All four counterparts from The Netherlands were very active in their response. They gave us a good overview of their festivals and how they celebrated them. I personally quite enjoyed this program.
- Chaitanya, Group Member.
Self Reflection #4
It was an amazing experience to interact with new people of different age groups and work with a team on real life projects. EUMIND gave me the exposure I needed and I gradually got very comfortable with my group to work as a unit. We got an opportunity to interact with the students of Het Lyceum Vos, Rotterdam. I was a little hesitant about interacting with the foreign students because there could be a huge gap between our cultures. However, everything went about pretty smoothly. They were very warm and polite, and I got to learn a lot about their social culture. Unfortunately, EUMIND was conducted online due to this pandemic. I would've loved to visit them in person and perform activities with my group in school. Nonetheless, it was a great experience because of how well it was conducted by our teachers.
- Riddhima, Group Member.
Self Reflection #5:
For me, the EUMIND program has been really helpful in my social and communication skills. I was a bit hesitant to take part at first, but then I got selected. I was not confident but then after the support of the teachers, teammates and the entire EUMIND team we completed the project. There was absolutely no communication gap between the team and our Dutch counterparts. Though there were a few challenges faced by the group everyone helped each other and have hopefully excelled. I would like to thank the teachers and the EUMIND program for giving me this opportunity, I would be looking forward to take part in the coming years.
- Annhad, Group Member.