Diwali, the Festival of Lights

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Rohit Mangtani (1st year MBA student) from Mumbai, India and Konal Kapur (1st year MBA student) from Punjab, India. Photo by Zachary Wright.

By Zachary Wright
Contributing reporter

The International Student Association hosted their Diwali celebration with traditional Indian food, dancing and music in room WB317 on Oct. 7. Diwali is celebrated each year in October with Indians worldwide celebrating this religious and historical holiday. Although Diwali is the biggest religious festival for Hinduism in India, it is celebrated by four religions during the same week.

“Diwali is the festival of lights,” said Konal Kapur, MBA, 1st. year grad. “All the houses are lit up, we have cards, parties, [and] drinks,” she continued, explaining some of the ways Diwali is celebrated.

Over five days, homes across villages and cities in India are decorated with lights, oil lamps, candles and flowers, but preparations for this come in the month before. Homes are thoroughly cleaned before Diwali begins, similar to that of spring cleaning in Western cultures.

Families come together to pray at temples throughout the day. Retail centers are crowded as those as people buy new clothes and gifts to exchange with family and friends later. Businesses start a new fiscal year, with some Hindus praying to Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity and wealth. At night, Indian cities host large firework displays but people at home light fireworks of their own to celebrate.

During this five-day festival, it is actually the third day that is celebrated as Diwali. In some parts of India, like Goa, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu, the second day is celebrated instead of the third day. Despite being a Hindu holiday, many legends and festivals are all intertwined with each other. This resulted in Diwali being celebrated for different reasons in some communities.

For many, the overall meaning remains the same.

“It’s basically the triumph of good over evil so that is the reason why we celebrate it,” said Rohit Mangtani, first year MBA student. “It’s a family get together kind of thing.”

While it is a religious festival, it is also a time for many families to come together.

“Diwali is a great Indian festival, similar to Christmas in United States of America,” said Nagesh Koritala, president of International Student Association. “Diwali is celebrated everywhere in India, from north to south,” Koritala explained.

“Everyone in the country celebrates this,” said Drishti Shah, a junior Biology major.

This festival is considered to be an auspicious time because many Hindu legends coincide with each other during the week of Diwali.

“This is the only festival that everyone will celebrate, no matter what their caste or religion is,” said Shah.

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