At a cool 52°, the crisp fall weather provided the perfect atmosphere for Diwali: The Festival of Lights last Wednesday night. Presented by the Indian Student Association, the event provided an enjoyable night full of food, games and sparklers while blending in traditional Indian culture.
Diwali is a religious festival celebrated in various countries including India and Pakistan. It extends over a five day period, each day paying tribute to a different deity, and it celebrates the victory of good over evil, light over darkness. It is the third, though, that holds the main celebration, the Festival of Lights. During the fest, citizens light candles, lamps, firecrackers, and sparklers that fill the sky with bright light (hence the name) and make tons of noise.
The Indian Student Association began the night with Puja, the act of worshipping to Hindu deities. They lit candles and incense and held a silent ceremony to pay tribute to the gods, which brought a tranquil stillness to the crowd as everyone who wished to participate prayed silently. Next, they performed a skit to pay tribute to Lord Rama, one of the many deities that Diwali celebrates. It told the story of Lord Rama’s fourteen year exile, along with his bride Sita and brother Lakshman, in which he defeated the demon-king Ravana.
Next, the celebration continued with a variety of games, including hit the crown, in which everyone got a chance to shoot an arrow at the Hindu version of Satan. They also held a Rangoli competition, in which people use colorful powders to create amazing designs on the ground. Talented Henna artists painted traditional Henna designs on the hands and arms of women. They handed out sparklers to everyone, lighting up the night and adding to the festive atmosphere. To top it all off, they held a traditional Indian feast, presenting a variety of food that tasted amazing and left everyone wanting seconds.
All around, the night was a success. The Indian Student Association managed to immerse everyone in a celebration taken straight from India. There wasn’t a single moment the whole night that wasn’t filled with laughter and music.
“I loved how they prepared a skit to show us the history of Diwali, and all of the food and games made it even better,” student Janice Chung said. “I felt like I was in India, celebrating with everyone there. I can’t wait until next year!”