Diwali is a five day Hindu festival that celebrates light overcoming darkness. From Thursday through Tuesday, UNCG held its own Diwali celebration on Friday, in room 114 of the School of Education Building.
The festivities included performances, traditional food for the holiday and Diwali-related items for sale. The event was organized by the UNCG Yuva Indian Student Association, and supported by the Indo-American Society of North Carolina and Triad Hindu Temple (HSNC). Yuva, the Indian Students Association at UNCG, is a student group which aims to unify Indian students at UNCG to promote Indian culture on campus. Yuva is a Hindi word that means “youth” or “the zeal of a young heart which knows no bounds,” according to the student group’s main website page.
Some traditions of this festival include Rangoli, which is a colorful floral or symmetrical art design usually done on floors and created out of flowers, colored powdered, colored rice and other items. An example of this was on display in front of the room of the event.
Another tradition the event highlighted was traditional clothing. Yuva Indian Student Association exemplified this, wearing vibrant colors to reflect the emphasis of light and vitality. Female Yuva Indian Student Association members wore bright blue, red, yellow, orange and green Sarees and Punjabi suits and men wore Jippas, traditional Indian long flowing shirts and Dhotis, a traditional garment in India and surrounding countries that is made of unstitched cloth, and is wrapped around and knotted the waist.
The multicolored lights at the festival were meant to represent goodness, positivity and the conquering of all things dark, negative and evil; as such, lights were present both in and outside the event venue.
In addition to lights, the event also hosted a fashion show, exemplifying a variety of traditional Indian clothing with materials such as silk, velvet and a variety of different kinds of gold jewelry, a customary fashion for Indian women.
Molly Black, a UNCG honors student who attended the event, said, “It’s important that people are introduced to new cultures and new things that they don’t see everyday… I learned something about Hinduism that I didn’t know before.”
According to Khan Academy, Hinduism is a religion native to South Asia, with a belief system in multiple deities, all representative of one almighty superior God, the universal law of karma and reincarnation.
Norma Rodriguez, another UNCG student attending the event, said, “The performances were really cool and the kids that performed were really cute.”
As Diwali is a highly celebrated event, celebrants of all ages attended, performed and participated at the festival.
Horacio Loza, a UNCG student, said, “It’s good to have the exposure. I know a little bit about it, but coming to these events, you get to really know and understand the culture better.”
UNCG’s ability to provide exposure and insight into internationally celebrated cultures was exemplified not only by the contributions of the assemblage of student groups and their efforts in these events, but also the involvement of the local Hindu temple and organizations such as campus activities board and the International and Global Studies program.