BY NIKOLE THREATS
SC Contributing Writer
On the October 26, 2013, East Stroudsburg University’s Desi Student Organization (DSO) will be hosting a dinner party in Keystone to celebrate Diwali, the Festival of Lights, according to the DSO president, Priya Rattan.
According to the official Diwali website, Diwali, which is short for the word Deepavali, is a time where the Desi community can, “give an expression to their happiness by lighting lamps, decorating the houses, bursting fireworks and inviting near and dear ones to their households for the partaking in a feast.” Diwali is itself a five-day festival, but the DSO is solely dedicating one day to celebrate on campus.
Diwali is a time of happiness and sharing throughout the Desi community. For this reason, the DSO will once again be hosting an event to share with the East Stroudsburg University (ESU) campus.
While the actual date of Diwali this year is November 3, 2013, the DSO decided to host a dinner party in Keystone on October the 26. The party will start with a traditional greeting, and following the greeting there will be a small session dedicated to educating the attending students on the reasons Diwali is celebrated.
ESU’s President Marcia G. Welsh will light the first candle of the night, and then the celebration will commence, including refreshments and a traditional dance performance.
According to the DSO president, Priya Rattan, all are welcome to celebrate, not only those who identify as being a Desi student, or one who worships in the Muslim, Hindu, or Sikh religion, or is of a South Asian descent.
If a student does not want to join the organization in their dinner party, or is unable to do so, Rattan suggest other ways students can celebrate.
“Diwali is the festival of lights and is how Desi students celebrate the New Year. I encourage students to celebrate with the [Desi] Organization at our event. However if they do not want to celebrate with us but want to participate in the celebration, they can light a candle from the comfort of their own homes,” said Rattan.
According to the organization’s president, the of lighting small clay lamps or candles celebrate Diwali, if lamps are not available. These lights represent good triumphing over evil throughout the world.
On the official website for Diwali, DiwaliFestival.org, the lighting of the candles drives away the darkness of amavasya, or “no moon day”. In places boasting a large Desi community, fireworks light the sky, representing the belief that the fireworks drive away any evil spirits. This allows people to safely and happily bring in the New Year.
Diwali is celebrated international and not solely on campus. People worldwide, as well as in neighboring communities, will be celebrating this festival to celebrate the goodwill of humanity and share blessings and happiness with fellow celebrators. Families use this opportunity to shower their loved one with gifts, such as new clothing or sweets between friends.
The students of the DSO have been planning this event since the start of the Fall 2013 semester. They hope that their planning and hard work will be realized by a greater turnout than last year. They are excited to share their traditions with the ESU campus and hope to see many of their peers at the dinner party.
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