The Indian Students Association Celebrates the Festival of Lights
Maggie Giordano | Assistant News Editor
The Indian Students Association brought India to the North Cafe in the Webb Center on Oct. 23 with a Diwali celebration, Ignite the Lights of Passion. The event was sponsored by multiple organizations including the Women’s Center, Intercultural Relations, Global Monarch Club and many more.
Diwali is the Hindu festival of lights. It symbolizes the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness. It also symbolizes the beginning of the new year according to the Hindu calendar. It is a day in which families and friends get together to celebrate togetherness with food and music. The holiday took place on Oct. 19 but was celebrated by the ISA on Monday so that other students and families were able to experience the tradition.
“We as a community take the efforts to come together and put on an event as grand as possible to create a home away from home for the Indian community here. We want to share this joy and Diwali celebration with the rest of the students here,” graduate student and member of the ISA, Sanidhya Ravikumar, said.
The celebration began with a welcome note and a prayer song from the ISA President, Sairatnakar Nidumolu, who is a graduate student. Students and staff members were then able to enjoy performances of Indian songs and Indian dances by various members of the ISA. The performers also incorporated American music such as an Ed Sheeran song into a dance routine and a student who sang Counting Stars by OneRepublic. Religious stories about the holiday and the Hindu gods were shared to give attendees more information about the cultural aspect of the event and its background.
“It is a good way to see different cultures and appreciated the different aspects that they have,” Sophomore Victoria Withrow, said.
Food tickets were given at entry and people were able to try classic Indian cuisine during the event. Some foods included Chicken Tikka Masala, Naan, Tandoori chicken, and Chana Masala which is savory chickpeas in a spiced gravy. Gulab Jamun, a sweet dessert, was served as well to give attendees a full course meal.
During the celebration, a video of ODU’s President, John Broderick, was played on the televisions to wish students to have an enjoyable evening. He also stated, “I believe the education we provide thousands of students each year also serves as a catalyst for progress and inclusion in our society,” to remind students of the diversity that is on campus.
Other activities went on during the event apart from the main stage. There was a photo booth in which people could take pictures with friends, henna ink was given out to draw henna tattoos and little clay pots and paint was provided so that people could paint and take home their own miniature pots.
“People are able to branch out and experience something they don’t understand about the Indian Culture,” Freshman, Ashley Mazza, said.
For more information about the ISA and future events, visit www.orgs.odu/isa.