October DEI Digest: Diwali, Day of the Dead & Halloween Costumes

As October comes to a close, the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) looks forward to more lessons, activities and celebrations to come. School-wide celebrations of Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights, will take place on Friday, Oct. 28. All divisions will have student-led assemblies with presentations on the holiday’s origins and traditions. In collaboration with Pace families, Pace Academy’s Gardens will be activated with food, dancing, draping, henna, music and more. We are looking forward to a full day of activities!

The Day of the Dead and Halloween also bring opportunities for our community to learn and celebrate. The Lower School currently has a student-created ofrenda, a dedicated space to remember and honor ancestors. The ofrenda project was a collaboration with the Lower School Spanish and art departments and the DEI team.

While we can enjoy and share in cultural appreciation, like building an ofrenda for the Day of the Dead or enjoying Diwali festivities with those who celebrate, it’s also important to remember that cultures aren’t costumes. On Oct. 31, Pace students and teachers will arrive on campus dressed to celebrate Halloween. Please choose costumes wisely! 

Is it appropriate or is it appropriation? Cultural appreciation happens when we broaden perspectives and build cross-cultural connections with others. Cultural appropriation is taking an aspect of a different person’s culture, such as items, aesthetics or spiritual practices and mimicking it without permission or any cultural context for personal gain, popularity or just because someone likes the way it looks. If you’re feeling even a little unsure about a particular costume, it’s wise to simply choose something else.

There is much to celebrate all year, and the Office of DEI looks forward to the festivities, programming and education to come!