Indian cultural groups celebrate Diwali


Jeannette Yan

Students participate in Diwali, also known as the Festival of Lights, on the Main Quad on Oct. 21.

By Jie Jie Wang, Staff writer

Diwali, a traditional Hindu holiday, was celebrated by both the Indian Student Association and Indian Graduate Student Association this past weekend.

ISA presented a cultural show at Lincoln Hall Saturday night, while IGSA lit up the Main Quad with candles.

“Diwali is the biggest festival in India, and every Indian will miss their families back home,” said Sai Kalyan Evani, Ph.D. student in Engineering and president of IGSA. “When we do this event on the Quad, people will traditional dress up and take pictures. Basically, they are celebrating the event like a Champaign-Urbana family.”

IGSA has celebrated Diwali on campus for 15 years.

Besides lighting candles and selling traditional foods, IGSA had henna and Bollywood music on the Main Quad.

Benji Samuel, senior in LAS and one of the board members in ISA, said it was awesome that IGSA celebrates the event on the Main Quad, because it shows what Diwali Night really is.

ISA’s cultural show included eight dancing groups and three singing teams as well as a fashion show.

“We usually have 200-300 people coming to our event,” said Aditi Doshi, sophomore in LAS and board member of ISA.

Rhea Mundle, sophomore in LAS, is a part of a dance team that specializes in a traditional Indian dance called “Kathak,” performed at the cultural show.

“We were in the show last year, so hopefully we want to do it every year,” Mundle said. “We want to be a part of the celebration, and it’s a good way to show our performance.”

The Diwali festival is open to people of all religious and ethnic backgrounds.

“Diwali festival means the festival of light. Back in India, celebrating Diwali is a respect for your religion. It is a Hindu festival, but people from different religions celebrate it: so, just leaving behind your nationalities and religions and celebrate it.” Evani said.

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