Every year on the day of the new moon, people light millions of lamps to get rid of the darkness. The light of the lamp destroys ignorance, brings wealth, health and prosperity and bestows knowledge.
Northeastern University will celebrate the five colorful holidays of Diwali across its global network.
“My favorite thing about Diwali is the feeling of togetherness and joy that comes from having everyone participating in the festivities,” says Sribindu Sreepada, a third-year data science and health sciences student at Northeastern. “Whether it’s lighting lamps, dressing up, praying, singing, dancing or eating together, the simple act of coming together creates a special atmosphere of happiness and connection.
Diwali is the biggest and most important festival of the year for more than a billion Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists from all over the world. Although the historical and spiritual interpretation of the holiday varies from community to community, a common theme of this annual festival is the victory of good over evil and the triumph of light over darkness. The five-day holiday runs from November 11 to 14, but November 12 is the main day.
As the number of South Asian students in the Northeast World System continually increases, says Sagar Rajpal, associate director and spiritual advisor for mindfulness and well-being at the Center for Spirituality, Dialogue and Service , the university will celebrate Diwali this year with festive programming at several of its locations across the world.
The spiritual component is the most important element of the holiday, says Rajpal, who started the tradition of celebrating Diwali in Northeast Boston six years ago. The Northeast’s many campuses will practice in different ways, he said, depending on the student population they have.
“I’m sure it will also be very colorful across the network,” he says.
Diwali is traditionally celebrated on the day of the new moon, when darkness is supreme all over the world and people light rows of clay diya lamps to get rid of the darkness. Nowadays, Rajpal says, different light sources, from lamps, candles or lanterns to string lights, can be used for this purpose. The lights symbolize the inner light that protects every home from spiritual darkness.
Orange and yellow colors typically dominate holiday decorations, as the saffron hues of marigold flowers symbolize purity, auspiciousness, and the divine.
Sreepada says she loves Diwali for its deep symbolism and the festival’s origin stories that often highlight resilience in difficult times and the triumph of good over evil.
“Diwali is not only a wonderful opportunity to connect and build community, but it also reminds me to stay faithful and have faith,” says Sreepada, who started the Hindu Undergraduate Student Organization on campus of Boston in 2022.
Last year, a Diwali celebration was the first major event HUSO hosted for South Asian students and the broader Northeast Boston community after its founding.
“Hearing attendees say they appreciated having a space to connect with their faith alongside their peers was extremely rewarding,” Sreepada said. “Being able to recreate and share experiences from home with my peers felt both grounding and joyful. »
For Ashutosh Kshirsagar, a graduate student at the Faculty of Computer Science, the favorite part of the Diwali festival is making rangoli — beautiful designs usually created on the ground in front of houses with colorful powders and flowers to welcome guests. Although rangoli are traditionally made by women, Kshirsagar says, he joined his mother and sisters in creating the colorful designs when he was little, which allowed him to appreciate her artistic side.
“It’s a very nice thing to do,” he said. “I think it made me feel more connected to my identity as a queer person.”
This time last year, when Kshirsagar was new to the Boston campus, he was not yet engaging with many students and was unable to bring together a group to attend the Diwali festivities and enjoy them with more people.
This year, as the founder of Queer Curry, a group of queer South Asian students, he is inviting everyone to attend a Diwali celebration from 2-5 p.m. on Friday, November 10 at the Curry Student Center, hosted in collaboration with the LGBTQ resource. Center, OWAM International and Center for Spirituality, Dialogue and Service.
“It’s a good way for me to do something for the students here, to make Diwali more accessible to people and to make those in the South East Asian diaspora feel more at home because they are quite far from home,” says Kshirsagar.
Queer Curry will provide rangoli supplies and lights for decoration at the event. They also invited Northeastern’s undergraduate Indian classical dance team, Malhar, to perform for the guests.
“Because Diwali is a very family-friendly holiday (you celebrate it with your friends and family), I’m more excited to do it (this year) because now I have a group of people who are also queer and come from a I have a similar background and I have similar stories with me,” says Kshirsagar.
There are several Diwali events across the North East Global Network.
Sanskriti from Northeastern University I will celebrate the festival from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. on November 11 and from noon to 6 p.m. on November 12 in the Curry Student Center and from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. in Sacred Space, Ell Hall. Also, 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., November 18 at Blackman Auditorium.
Queer Curry, the LGBTQ Resource Center, OWAM International and the Center for Spirituality, Dialogue and Service will host a Diwali celebration from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on November 10 in Curry 174. Students, faculty and the staff are invited to attend and enjoy treats. and participate in lamp painting, rangoli making and jewelry making.
The Graduate School of Engineering plans to decorate the Faculty of Engineering offices and distribute goodies to students and visitors on November 10 and 12.
The Yogi Divine Society invites members of the Northeast community to celebrate Diwali with games, traditional fashion and dinner at 8 p.m. on November 10 in the Sacred Space (200 Ell Hall).
The Hindu Undergraduate Student Organization (HUSO) and Northeastern University Aaroh, the Indian undergraduate music club, invite all undergraduate students to a Diwali celebration which will include a short Diwali prayer, a lighting ceremony candles, musical performances by Aaroh and food from 7-8:30 p.m. November 10 at the Snell Engineering Center, Room 168, 110 Forsyth St.
The North Eastern University Sikh Students’ Association is organizing a Gurudwara visit to participate in Diwali and Bandi Chorr Diwas Diwan on November 12. Participants are scheduled to meet at 5 p.m. at the Ruggles T station.
Northeastern University Hindu Communities invites guests to participate in a pooja ritual, share food and listen to music at 7:30 p.m. on November 13 at Onward, Sacred Space in Ell Hall.
Diwali 2023 will be celebrated with rangoli, diya decoration, food and dancing at the Student Union from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on November 12.
The Namaste student group will organize a Diwali event with a film screening from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on November 17.
All students, faculty and staff are invited to don their best traditional or festive outfits to immerse themselves in the essence of Diwali during a magical evening from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on November 10 at the VIP Lounge (75 E Santa Clara St.).
A Diwali dance party will take place from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on November 10 at the Event Space on the 14th floor.
The Festival of Lights will be celebrated with music, dance and traditional food tastings at 4 p.m. on November 13 in the event space. Families are welcome.
Students from the northeast of the Czech Republic will attend a Diwali procession on November 11 at the Prague Zoo, followed by a traditional Indian dinner.
Students from northeastern Greece will be able to participate in traditional rangoli making and learn Bollywood dancing on the campus of the American College of Thessaloniki on November 10. On November 11, the community council invites students to decorate battery-powered lights on the boardwalk to celebrate the “light overcoming darkness” aspect of Diwali.