The University of Rhode Island’s Indian Student Association will be hosting Diwali, the Indian Festival of Lights, at 6 p.m. in the Ballroom of the Memorial Union on Saturday, Nov. 5.
Similar to previous years, the event will feature demonstrations of various Indian dances, live musical performances and special guest performances from outside organizations, as well as a tribute to unity from the Center of Peace and Nonviolence on campus.
Mahad Jamil, president of the Indian Student Association (ISA) and a senior computer science and business major, will be hosting the event with former president Suvrajyoti Kar, a fifth-year graduate student in chemical engineering.
Jamil and Kar are working closely with Julie Cuddigan, a senior chemical engineering student, to put together the event and choreograph performances.
“The audience can expect more traditional dance this year, as well as some Bollywood style pieces,” Cuddigan explained. “We will be heavily showcasing Garba—which is a traditional Indian Folk Dance.” Kar added that, in previous years, the organization choreographed more Bollywood style dances, but this year, they hope to feature more traditional performances.
Cuddigan said that there will be guest performances from the international dance group Elima, as well as Exposure, a URI multicultural performance group. He said that this year’s show has a lot more to offer than previous years, including performances from undergraduate students in bands and dance groups.
“This year is going to be more diverse,” Cuddigan said. “We have performances from all different cultures, countries, and ethnicities. Everyone in the audience will be able to connect and identify with the performances.”
Jamil joked, “It’s going to be higher quality because Suvra and I will not be dancing this year.”
In addition to the performances, there will be a henna artist offering henna tattoos as well a traditional Indian meal following the ceremony. After receiving good reviews the previous year, this will be the second year in a row Maharaja Restaurant, located in Narragansett, will cater.
As special thanks for her service to the university, Kathy Collins, Vice President of Student Affairs, will be honored as the Chief Guest during the ceremony.
ISA wishes to remind students that the event is completely free and the doors to the Ballroom will be opening at 5:30 p.m. so that Diwali may begin on time at 6 p.m. with the traditional lamp lighting.