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On Saturday Week Four, the Indian Society hosted a celebration in the Minor Hall in honour of the traditional festival Diwali.
Diwali, also known as the festival of lights, is the “biggest and most important celebration in India” enthused Anuj Gupta, and is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, and Jainas. It marks the return of the Lord Rama after being exiled to the forest for 14 years and the festival pays honour to his bravery and the defeat of light over darkness.
The evening began with the traditional prayer, where everyone was invited up to table to pray to the Goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, light, and prosperity. The offering of the candles is an offering of “deep light, asking the Gods to please take care of us in life” explained Anuj, going on to say that “this time in India is the best time to start something new so we ask Lakshmi for happiness, good health, and prosperity”.
The night then moved outside for a fireworks display, where guests were also given sparklers to enjoy. In India, fireworks are a huge part of the celebration and often take place in the streets and parks; “shopkeepers keep the shops open until midnight as the displays can go on for so long” described Anuj.
Other events throughout the night consisted of poker, rangoli, and best dressed competitions. “Rangoli is a ritual on festive occasions, and carries religious meaning; the designs are usually placed at the entrance to the home” said Chandrika Bengani, attendees were invited to take part and create vibrant designs using colourful powder.
Shreelakshmi Dinesh also performed a classical Indian dance, followed by a hip hop performance by Jerry Jack and Kingsley Cassie. Guests were then served a traditional Indian dinner, wrapping up the evening with a disco.