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.