The Indian Student Association celebrates the festival of lights

Managing Arts and Culture Editor

The university’s Indian Student Association (ISA) celebrated Diwali on Friday evening in Trabant Student Center.

Diwali is celebrated by millions of Hindus, Sikhs and Jains across the world. Each religion celebrates Diwali based on different historical events, according to the British Broadcasting Channel. 

Although each religion celebrates Diwali for different reasons, the common ground for all is the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness. 

ISA represents Indian and South Asian students on campus by hosting events that educate and celebrate its members through Indian traditions. 

Diwali, as the association’s biggest event of the year, was open to everyone – whether they personally celebrated the holiday or not. Yamini Vyas, president of the organization, said that they encourage people from different backgrounds to celebrate with them. 

“It’s one of the biggest Hindu festivals that we have,” Vyas said. “The big thing is that it is the triumph of good over evil. You come together with your family, your friends and you celebrate with food and gifts. It’s a great way to bring everybody together.” 

For some students like Ava Crussard and Erin Ritchie, both sophomores at the university, this was their first time celebrating the festival. Their friend, Nisha Thope, coordinated the event and they wanted to see the work Thope put in. 

Both Crussard and Ritchie were dressed in saris, which they borrowed from Thope. 

“We did a whole fashion show before coming here,” Crussard said. 

Most guests were dressed in vibrantly wrapped garments, while some were in more casual clothes. Regardless of their dress, celebrants laughed and conversed with friends over traditional Indian food, provided by UD Catering. 

After celebrants finished their food, Delaware Kamaal, the university’s Indian FUSION dance team performed different styles of Indian dance in the center of the room. 

“It was amazing,” Thope said. “Kamaal always has very energetic performances and they are very talented. I love watching them dance because everyone always has such a good time, both the performers and the audience.”

Christina Natalini/THE REVIEW
Delaware Kamaal performing as celebrants watch.

Damayanti Pachade, a first-year student at the university, saw the event advertised on ISA’s social media pages and was glad to hear that there are community events like this one where she can continue her traditions, away from home. 

“I actually live near my cousins [in New Jersey], so it’s nice to just be with them,” Pachade said. “We have rituals and in the night we have fireworks and firecrackers. It’s just a good time to spend with family.”

Although ISA was not permitted to light candles or set off fireworks, they set up tables for “diya decorating,” where students were able to paint small ceramic bowls that could be used later to hold their candles. 

Christina Natalini/THE REVIEW
Left to right: Joannie Wang, Lauren Baron and Swetha Sankar at the “diya decorating” table.

Other activities like Rangoli, which Vyas described is normally done with colored powder, was set up so that participants could color mandala tablecloths with markers.

“It’s the festival of lights, it lights up your world,” freshman Alekhya Puttagunta said.

Originally posted 2022-11-15 19:00:00.