Happenings: Diwali

Annual cultural celebration
returning to Texas State

By Mary KincyA flyer for Diwali.

The festival is marked by clay lamps traditionally lit and placed outside homes to symbolize the inner light that protects from spiritual darkness — and it is coming to Texas State.

Diwali, a five-day celebration honoring the victory of good over evil, is recognized in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Singapore, among other countries. The Indian Student Association is responsible for its annual recognition at Texas State, culminating this year from 6-9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, at Alkek Teaching Theater.

Varsha Ramachandran, secretary of the Indian Student Association, said Diwali — a name derived from a contraction of the word “Deepavali,” which literally means “row of lights” — also honors human enlightenment and fraternity.

“This festival promotes goodwill and cooperation amongst people, and is meant to emphasize the interdependence of every individual with whom we share this world, the universe and its gifts and resources,” she says.

Ramachandran says the Indian Student Association has made the observation of Diwali a priority since its inception in 2003. She explains why: “It stresses on the importance of people from all cultures, religions and various walks of life to come together for a greater good by setting aside petty differences.

“Texas State University has a very diverse student and faculty population,” Ramachandran says. “Our main aim is to get people from other cultures and walks of life to experience and thus become aware of the diversity and richness of India’s culture and traditions, of which we are proud.”

A traditional Diwali celebration assigns significance to each of its five days, from the first, upon which most Indian business communities start their financial year, to the last, where sisters invite brothers to their homes to pray for their well-being.

At Texas State’s Diwali, music, dance, art and food will each play a role in the three-hour celebration, to which the entire university community is invited.

For more information, visit the Indian Student Association website or its Facebook.

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