There will be sparkles aplenty for the Hindu Festival of Light, which is being celebrated over the world and by students at Exeter on Saturday, November 6.
Diwali, or Deepavali, is the most important festival of the year for Hindus and is regarded as the start of a new year. From the lighting of small clay lamps that signify the triumph of good over evil, to sharing sweets and snacks and bursting fire crackers, Diwali is a symphony of colours, lights and music. Exeter University’s student Asian Society will host a festival, which will encompass the excitement of Diwali on the Streatham campus. Activities start at 3pm until 7.30pm at Cornwall House, the event is being organised by the Student Support Office.
The festivities are free and open to everyone from the university and the city of Exeter, as a way of providing a cultural experience and an opportunity to connect with the culture and heritage of India. It is also an opportunity to explain the role of the Diwali in which prayers and special offerings are made to Laxmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity, and Ganesh, the god of auspicious beginnings.
Nitika Jain, vice president of the student Asian Society told the Devon Week: ‘What I love most about Diwali is that it brings families together. Regardless of where you are in the world and how your relations are with someone, Diwali is a time when everyone forgets their miseries and celebrates together. I’m also addicted to all the sweets prepared at this time!
“Back at home in Hong Kong, since we have quite a large number of Indians residing there, we celebrate Diwali each year with a Diwali Ball. It is our way of bringing the entire community together and celebrating the new year. With dances, singers, food and everyone in a jovial mood, these nights turn out to be quite fantastic.”
Dancing will be on offer as part of the Diwali celebrations in Exeter, with a Bollywood style dance workshop leading to a two-minute dance performance. Dohl drummers will also facilitate a drumming workshop which will lead a procession of people to the fireworks. In addition, there will be a demonstration of South Indian cooking to whet the appetite and a film showing of Dostana a huge Bollywood comedy hit.
There will be numerous fun events happening on campus for Diwali, Priyanka Parekh an English under graduate student and president of the Asian Society can’t wait. She said: “Diwali is a wonderful festival, much like Christmas here, and because they are so similar yet still different in the way they are celebrated. It’s exciting to know we’re introducing to everyone something entirely new and responsible for bringing to everyone a day of sheer enjoyment and cultural experience.”
Neil Armstrong deputy Vice Chancellor responsible for international affairs, said: “We are really pleased and excited to be sharing Diwali with the students and the local community. It’s a pleasure to have such a festival on campus.”