Global Gatherings

Festivities abound this month. Here in the U.S. and worldwide, a cornucopia of celebrations occur starting with Día de los Muertos. Other observances include Diwali, Guru Nanak Jayanti, International Education Week, and Thanksgiving. These observances have significant cultural differences, but they share a tradition of reflection with friends and loved ones. 

Bountiful Harvests 

Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a two-day ceremony of reverence and love for departed loved ones that has its origins in Aztec and Toltec traditions honoring the dead. As part of this tradition, many people make offerings to loved ones at gravesites or through colorful ofrendas (home altars) that contain photos of the deceased, flowers, food, and items that are part of important memories. Students, faculty, and staff are building altares that will be displayed on campus through the beginning of this month.

On November 4, we observe India’s biggest holiday, Diwali, also known as the Sanskrit Deepavali, part of a five-day festival that celebrates the triumph of knowledge over ignorance and light over darkness. This festival of lights occurs annually post-monsoon season in India, representing a time of harvest. Hindus associate the holiday with Lakshmi, wife of Vishnu and goddess of prosperity and good fortune. 

Those of other faiths who live in India – Jains, Sikhs, and some Buddhists – recognize Diwali. Celebrants prepare for the festival by cleaning and decorating their homes and sometimes leave their windows and doors open so Lakshmi can enter and bless them with wealth. To show her their respect, many build Lakshmi a small altar and bedeck it with money. 

A few weeks after Diwali, Sikhs also commemorate the holiday of Guru Nanak Jayanti to recognize the birth of the first Sikh Guru Nanak Sahib, who is credited as the founder of Sikhism. To honor Guru Nanak on and around his birthday, Sikhs attend parades, community lunches with loved ones, and participate in evening prayer sessions remembering his message of equality and community engagement. 

A Season of Thanks

Mid-month is International Education Week, which recognizes the benefits of international education and the significance of cultural and global competency. Regardless of one’s origins, education serves as a passport to a more enriched life. Here in the College, we appreciate culturally diverse perspectives and experiences and continually strive to cultivate our students to engage in our complex, ever-changing world.

Cal Lutheran will host several events for International Education Week this year, where students, faculty, staff, and administrators can learn about the plethora of cultures on campus and how they enhance our community. 

A week after International Education Week, fall break takes place. This time gives us a long weekend to reflect on gratitude with friends and families - of origin and chosen.  Some of us will return home for Thanksgiving dinner with relatives; others will gather with acquaintances on or off campus to enjoy a meal or two together before the fall semester ends. 


Native American Heritage Month

Veterans Day – Nov. 11

International Education Week – Nov. 15-19

Transgender Day of Remembrance – Nov. 20

Thanksgiving – Nov. 25