Diwali, the festival of lights, is celebrated by Indian students all throughout the U.S. ISV Ambassador Jay Bhatt shares more about this holiday and how students from the University of Alabama at Birmingham celebrated.
Events in the U.S. for Diwali range from small family gatherings to large social gatherings at the university level. The Association of Indian Students (AIS) at University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) hosted a similar event on Saturday November 2. A large number of Indians, Americans and international students from all over the world were present to enjoy the Diwali festivities!
Diwali is celebrated in various parts of India for a number of different mythological and spiritual reasons. Hence Diwali represents India’s ‘unity in diversity’ because despite these differences, the festival of Diwali collectively symbolizes “The victory of good over evil” all over India. Diwali is a time for all to celebrate life and reflect upon their thoughts, words, and actions over the last year. More importantly, it is a time for friends and family to look forward to the coming year with a rejuvenated sense of purpose and passion in life.
Diwali is celebrated over five days with each day having its unique social and spiritual significance. People in India burst firecrackers and distribute sweets and snacks. Neighbors, friends, and family wear new clothes and exchange gifts. Houses are heavily decorated with lights, oil lamps, lanterns, and Rangolis, a colorful design made in the courtyard floor.
It is easy for one to understand that celebrating Diwali, the festival of joy and happiness, away from home would not be the same for all Indian students. But if you would had been at the Bell Theater in UAB at 6 p.m. on November 2 then you would disagree with the previous statement.
“Diwali in India is synonymous to prayers, family gatherings, food and party,” Divya Devadasan, President of the Association of Indian Students (AIS) at UAB said. “Through this event we have tried to recreate the same atmosphere by bringing together the Indian, American and international communities at UAB as one huge family and celebrate together”.
There were cultural dances, Bollywood songs, stand-up comedy, Diwali quizzes, Rangolis and of course amazing Indian food!
“I celebrated this festival of joy with my friends in United States and AIS,” Rishabh Kala, a Ph.D student in Biology at UAB shared. “And despite being away from home, this event made me feel as if I am still part of that divine culture of India.”
Such is the beauty of living in a country like America! We come in as international students with our own cultural and traditional values, blend into the American culture, and share a part of what we have into the American culture. The product is a beautiful, inter-cultural experience of living and developing in a country called the United States of America!
University of Alabama at Birmingham