SNHU graduate students from India in their traditional dresses. (image credit: Kamila Ataee)

Diwali, or Dipawali, is the biggest and most impor­tant holiday in India and for people that are a part of the Hindu faith.

The festival gets its name from a row (Avali) of clay lamps (Deepa) that light up the outside areas of people’s homes. This is to symbolize the inner light that protects them from spiritual darkness.

This festival is as impor­tant to Hindus as the Christ­mas holiday is for Christians.

Hindus, Indians in par­ticular, celebrate Diwali in October or November every year, and this marks their last harvest of the year before the start of winter. India was an agriculture society, where people would seek the divine blessing of Lakshmi, the god­dess of wealth. They prayed for success in hopes to have a better financial year.

Over the centuries, Di­wali became a national festi­val that brings joys to most Indian families regardless of their faith.

“Going to neighbors and relatives is my favorite part of this festival,” said senior Ku­sum Acharya. “Diwali is also the bonding of brothers and sisters.”

On Oct. 28, the Interna­tional Student Association (ISA) celebrated Diwali at Southern New Hampshire University’s (SNHU) Banquet Hall with more than 200 par­ticipants including students, faculty and some guests from the Manchester community.

The festival started with a Nepali dance performance and continued with two games, Indian students dance performance, sparklers and food.

The purpose of this cel­ebration is to bring people to­gether. “I always enjoyed Di­wali, but this year I saw a lot students from different coun­tries who came here to sup­port each other,” said Debbie Donnelly, the assistant direc­tor of International Student Services at SNHU.

Hindus also celebrate Diwali with family gather­ings, glittering clay lamps, fireworks, strings of elec­tric lights, bonfires, flowers, dance performances, eating sweets and worship to Lak­shmi.

“The best part of Diwali for me is that we cook togeth­er, eat together and dance to­gether,” said Priyanka Shar­ma, a graduate student. “It is a celebration of everything.”

The International Student Association and Internation­al Student Services hope to bring the SNHU community together by celebrating dif­ferent international festivals.

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