The University of Rhode Island’s Indian Students Association hosted the annual Diwali celebration on Saturday, Nov. 5 at 6 p.m. in the Memorial Union Ballroom.
The free event was filled with eclectic Indian cuisine, multiple Bollywood performances, a Henna booth, an appearance of Rhody the Ram and other various performances. Masters of Ceremonies Suvrajyoti Kar and Mahad Jamil hosted the event. According the Mahad, over 400 people attended the celebration, which was the biggest showing they’ve ever had for URI Diwali.
Diwali is the Hindu festival of lights, celebrated worldwide during autumn. The festival celebrates new beginnings and the victory of light over darkness, as well as good versus evil.
The event began with the symbolic lighting of the lamp, which represents the allaying of darkness in our lives. It proceeded with several live performances by the URI Indian Association, URI Department of Music, Project 401 of Providence, Tibetan Buddhist Monks from India, URI Multicultural Dance group, eXposure Multicultural Dance group, Alima International Dance Association and URI Dining Hall employee Vinnie Joyce.
Diwali was full of positive energy and a diverse display of culture.
“We had so many people from all over Rhode Island, and all over URI and come perform,” Jamil said. “I think the level of performance from everyone was consistently very good.”
Jamil explained that Diwali is all about “having a community come together.”
Buddhist Monks came straight from Tibet and didn’t speak much English, according to Jamil.
The monk’s performance was a peace chanting which involved a variety of instruments. At the end of the event, Vice President of student affairs, Kathy Collins, Ph. D., gave a heartfelt speech on the importance of diversity and culture.
“This evening is in the midst of so much that’s happening in our world right now. My daughter and I had a conversation about how can you find truth. Thank you tonight for bringing truth to me, and showing me what truly is URI,” said Collins.
The applause was long and loud after each performance, and by the end of Diwali the audience got to enjoy curry and samosas. A junior Communicative Disorders student, Maria Hernandez, was one among many students that attended the event. This was Hernandez’s first Diwali.
“It’s very diverse, it’s different, it’s unique,” she said. “You learn about the culture, which is why it’s important to come to events like this.”