By Stephanie Dawber
Bridgewater State University hosted Diwali-The Hindu Festival of Lights on Oct. 23. The celebration was held from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and showcased intercultural learning experiences, henna tattoos, dancing, music and food.
The Diwali-Hindu Festival of Lights generated an overwhelming turnout. At one point, the festival was so crowded with students that it was standing room only.
“We ordered more food at the last moment and wished we could have changed the venue. There were approximately 200 students that came and went, this created standing room only at different times throughout the evening. It was absolutely fabulous,” said Sydné Marrow, Director for Center of Multicultural Affairs. “We are all excited to do it again next year in a much larger venue. It was not what we expected, it was better than we could have ever imagined.”
“We were expecting about 100 people to show up, especially since it was raining. More than 150 showed up! We were very pleased by the turnout,” agreed Roopa Rawjee, Director of Internal Student and Scholar Services.
Diwali is a religious holiday celebrated by Hindus to honor the victory of good over evil. The holiday is celebrated over a period of several days. The word “Diwali” means “rows of lighted lamps” hence the reference to Festival of Lights.
“Diwali is about letting go of the past and looking forward to a good, new beginning. It is also about love and generosity. They [Hindus] also consider Diwali to be the first day of the new fiscal year,” said Rawjee. “Offices are also cleaned and prayers are offered to the Gods for a prosperous new beginning to the fiscal year. The business owners give gifts of money and sweets to all the employees on this day.”
Marrow stated the purpose of the festival is “To celebrate the tradition and bring its awareness to the BSU community. To display solidarity with our international students who are far from their homeland and missing the ability to celebrate with their families.”
At the BSU Diwali Festival, students experienced, “Great music, traditional décor, genuine henna tattoos, interactive dancing, educational information regarding the Hindu religion and traditions, and authentic Indian cuisine from a restaurant located in Quincy, MA,” said Marrow.
Diwali- The Hindu Festival of Lights required several on-campus organizations to consolidate the event. The Student Government Association (SGA) funded the BSU event.
The following organizations are to be commended: The Center for Multicultural Affairs, International Culture Club, Asian Student Union, Asian Studies, Global Village: Residential Learning Community, International Student and Scholar Services, International Culture Club, The Asian Student Union, Sister Scholars, and Men Integrated in Brotherhood.
Rawjee said that students should stay tuned for Diwali 2015. “We have already begun planning!”
Stephanie Dawber is the News Editor of The Comment. Follow her on Twitter @StephanieDawber or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org