Laughter and music echoed throughout the Hamilton-Williams Campus Center Benes Rooms on Nov. 8 as Diwali, the festival of lights, was hosted by SANGAM.
SANGAM, an Ohio Wesleyan organization that represents and supports South Asian events and culture, organized and executed the festival.
Diwali originated in Indiaand is one of the largest festivals of the Hindu religion. Traditionally Diwali is held in the fall for five days, the third day being celebrated as the main day, the “Festival of Lights”
SANGAM president, Shashwat Rijal, said that the name “Diwali” derives from the Sanskirt word “deepavali.” The first half of the word “deepa” means lights, and the second half “vali” means row of lights, hence the name “festival of lights.”
Rijal also said the festival is an official national holiday in Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mauritius, Guyana, Suriname, Malaysia, Singapore and Fiji.
Another SANGAM member, senior Vrinda Trivedi, said the meaning behind the Diwali festivals is to “celebrate the victory of good over evil” and “light over darkness.” Trivedi also said homes in many countries that recognize the festival are decorated with candles or diyas to signify the message behind Diwali.
During the event, free Indian food was out for attendees to enjoy and Akram Hossain, another SANGAM member, presented a brief Hindi prayer. A Bollywood inspired dance performance, choreographed by Trivedi, was the highlight of the festival. Trivedi described her song selection for the performance as “upbeat” and “fun.” Each performer wore kurtis and kurtas, traditional Indian clothing
While Trivedi said hosting the festival was intended to be fun and help international students experiencing homesickness, Rijal said the event was simply to educate OWU and introduce them to something new.
“The purpose was just to introduce the [OWU] community to the a major Hindu festival,” Rijal said. “By organizing such cultural events, we hope to connect and contribute to the Ohio Wesleyan community.“