First-Ever Diwali Celebration Takes Place on Campus

News Story: October 28, 2014

Students at Sacred Heart University hosted the school’s first-ever Diwali celebration on October 25 in the Schine Auditorium.

Diwali is one of the biggest festivals marked by Hindus and is celebrated with great enthusiasm and happiness in India and other areas of the world where Hindus are concentrated. The occasion is celebrated for five continuous days, with the third day being the main Diwali event, or “Festival of Lights.” Various colorful varieties of fireworks are commonly associated with the festival, and celebrants light up diyas (oil lamps, often made of clay) and candles. Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth, love, prosperity and fortune, as well as the embodiment of beauty, is honored and worshipped. There is also an exchange of gifts between near and dear friends and family members, acknowledging their love and affection.

The exact day of the festival is decided by the position of the moon, so the celebration date changes year to year. According to the Hindu calendar, Amavasya (or ‘no moon day’) is considered the perfect day to celebrate Diwali. Lighting diyas and candles is meant to drive away the darkness of Amavasya and aligns with Hindu history in that it marks Lord Rama’s victory over demon King Ravana.

The cultural portion of SHU’s celebration was coordinated by Jayanth Regula, a computer science graduate student, and several other Indian graduate students, while funding and assistance with space and food was provided by the University’s Office of Global Affairs, English as a Second Language (ESL) program and Computer Science Department.

The event attracted more than 200 participants and featured Indian cuisine courtesy of Bangalore restaurant of Fairfield, dance and singing performances and a traditional fashion show.

Remarking on the event, Regula said, “We appreciate the great support of the University and everyone involved in making this event possible.”

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