Bright colored lights, the aro-ma of Indian food and the chat-ter of excited students, many of whom were wearing traditional Indian clothing, filled the Hall of Presidents on November 9 for the celebration of Diwali hosted by the Hindu Student Associa-tion. Diwali is the Hindu festival of lights that commemorates the return of Rama and the worship of the goddess Lakshmi. Indians throughout the country celebrate this holiday by wearing new clothes, lighting oil lamps called Diyas as well as firecrackers and exchanging Indian sweets.
About 100 students attended the event, filling almost every seat in the room. The celebration started with a presentation on Diwali by sophomore Sagar Sax-ena and first-year Shivika Seksar-ia; they discussed the origins of the holiday as well as the various traditions normally associated with Diwali throughout different parts of India.
“I thought that it was all very enlightening and well done,” ju-nior Daynelis Vargas said about the presentation. “I learned a lot about a cultural experience I would not have known about otherwise.”
Following the presentation, a private puja, which is a religious ceremony, was performed for the goddess Lakshmi by the students of the Hindu Student Asso-ciation. Once the puja was per-formed, students were able to eat traditional Indian food catered by downtown Hamilton’s Royal India Grill; some of the delica-cies served were rice pulao, saag paneer and gulab jamun. As stu-dents ate, modern Indian music played in the background.
This year, the Hindu Student Association ended the event with the biggest Diwali tradition: fire-works. Once everyone finished eating, students rushed outside to Whitnall field where they were able to see a professional fireworks display.
“[Diwali at Colgate] is a stimu-lating cultural experience,” junior Krutika Ravi said.
Overall, the event provided an informative representation of the Hindu holiday. The Hindu Student Association wanted the Diwali event to be authentic and meaningful to the attendees, sharing their culture with other Colgate students.
Contact Cynthia Kumar at [email protected]