On Friday November 6th, Bryant University’s International Student Organization (ISO) held the Bryant Diwali 2015. This Indian cultural celebration kicked off at 6 p.m. inside the Roto which was decked out in lights. The light decorations were a perfect fit since Diwali is dubbed “Festival of Lights.” This was also the very first Asian festival celebration I had ever participated in so I was interested to see what was in stock for me.
Diwali 2015 kicked off with a short song prayer by one of the Indian students on campus. Then after, Prof. Mohan took to the stage to deliver some opening remarks about Diwali to the participants which I estimate to be roughly about a 100 students. He said “Diwali is about “the light” and celebrating lights. It also represents the New Year in India. It is a Hindu celebration of good over evil. Normally, it is a 5-day celebration that begins on the 10th and 11th of November depending on the region of India you are in. In many regions, it is celebrated in a grand manner. Diwali is like the Christmas of Hindus. On the 11th, everyone leaves their homes and goes to the temple to pray with their family. New clothing is provided to everyone in the morning and you get blessings from the elders. There is special food, too. The best part is the fireworks. In the U.S. too Indians celebrate it as well. Since Obama became president, it has been recognized and celebrated in the White House.”
Prof. Mohan further went on to add that he hoped the Indian students on campus would band together and create an Indian Student Association in order to promote Indian culture on Bryant’s campus.
After the opening remarks, the ISO E-board and some members of the Indian community at Bryant performed a series of synchronized dance routines. A majority of people in the spectating crowd were later pulled from their seats to join in the dance. Though I did not dance myself, I will note that it was a big beautiful party. What I found surprising was that some of the Indian songs which played through the loud speakers had some touch of western pop and hip-hop influence. I had myself thinking “what a prime example of Globalization.”
Then came the food . Since I had no idea the names of the food being served and what ingredients were used in their preparations, I promptly consulted with my friend Devansh Jain who is an international student from India.
The dishes had around 8 items. There were 2 different types of Dal entrees. Dal is Hindi for curry. One had veggies and the other had none. The entrees consisted of Chola (chick peas) and paneer which is cottage cheese. In addition, we had a chance to consume yellow rice with bread which Jain explained to me was called Naan. There was also a sweet dish which had Gulab, Jamun and Rasmalai.
I left for the library after my meal in order to finish up an impending paper which was due the following Monday. This means I never got to see how Diwali 2015 ended but of what I had experienced, I would definitely say it was a beautiful and I was glad to have participated in.