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Why I love celebrating Diwali, even though it made me feel different

by Deepica Mutyala /  / Updated  / Source: TODAY

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It's my favorite holiday of the year!

No, not Halloween — although I love a good costume — it’s Diwali, also known as Deepavali to us South Indians, the “Festival of Lights." To celebrate, I collaborated with beauty expert and YouTube star Patrick Starrr to create an extra-special beauty video.

Whether you're celebrating the holiday or not, this makeup tutorial will make a gorgeous, autumn look!

Growing up as a first generation Indian-American in Texas, I must admit that I wasn’t exactly jumping up for joy every year when we celebrated Diwali. I didn’t embrace the vibrancy of the holiday nor did I really fully understand how beautiful it is that we have this amazing, five-day long celebration.

That's me on the right! Feeling like my own holiday wasn't "normal," I didn't appreciate how special Diwali was until I was much older.Deepica Mutyala

I never shared the experience with my non-Indian friends because I didn’t feel like it was “normal." Now that I’m older, I not only embrace the holiday, but am so grateful to be a part of a culture that celebrates such an auspicious occasion.

My sister, father, mother and I celebrating Diwali. Now, I'm proud to share my culture with others.Deepica Mutyala

Diwali is arguably the biggest Hindu festival of the year that celebrates the victory of good versus evil. There are beautiful candles or “deepams” around the house, fireworks and exchanging of gifts. In short, it’s a huge celebration filled with color, fun and love — our version of ringing in the new year.

Wearing a sari, a traditional Indian dress, jewelry and Diwali-inspired makeup, I couldn't be prouder to celebrate this special holiday and "Festival of Lights."Deepica Mutyala

Now, I'm proud of my culture and the aspects that make me feel different. It took a bit of soul-searching, growing up and feeling more confident in who I am, but I want to make sure that I share this beautiful holiday with everyone.

Happy Diwali to you and your loved ones!

This article was first published on Oct. 29, 2016.

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