Aztecs celebrate Indian traditions at Diwali festival

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Aztecs celebrate Indian traditions at Diwali festival

by Jasmine Bermudez, Staff Writer

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The Sanskriti Association of Indian Students hosted its second annual Diwali event to celebrate the largest festival in Hindu religion and to promote cultural diversity at San Diego State.

The event took place on the third day of a five-day-long event that celebrates the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, hope over despair and knowledge over ignorance.

At the event, SDSU students performed cultural dances, ate Indian food like biryani, naan and chana masala, and enjoyed Bollywood-style music.

Electrical engineering student Rama Alluri opened the special performances portion of the event with Kuchipudi, the dance of Andhra Pradesh which is the part of India she is from. During the dance, Alluri wore a traditional dark brown costume and anklets with bells while praying to Lord Ganesha.

“It was important for me to perform a dance at the Diwali festival because as I get closer to earning my degree, the magic of student life is ending, as well,” electrical engineering master’s student Sravan Bandi said.

With cultural events like these, The Association of Indian Students, Sanskriti, aims to unite SDSU students and share Indian culture and heritage, said Sanskriti treasurer and information master’s student Rupal Jain.

“Diwali is a huge festival in India,” Sanskriti President Amrutesh Vyas said. “It is like our Christmas.”  

The festival also celebrates the return of one of the gods after fighting with a demon and defeating them, Jain said.

“It brings brightness, joys and prosperity,” business administration and management student Suchi Gupta said. “Everything that is good is associated with Diwali.”  

Sanskriti Vice President Nargis Shah said Diwali is a time when people meet and enjoy time together.

Gupta said that to her the most important parts of Diwali are the religious and spiritual elements.

“During Diwali, you share and you clean,” Gupta said. “It is not just that you share gifts. You share joys and happiness. It is not just that you clean your house. You clean your heart and de-clutter your mind.”

Diwali brings a little piece of home to the 500 Indian international students attending SDSU, Vyas said.

“It is a special time for us who are away from our home in India to come together and collaborate to plan this event,” Shah said.

Bandi said Diwali is an emotional time for him because although he is away from his family in India, he gets to come together with people from his country and see that he is not alone.

Although it is the most important festival in Hinduism, Diwali is celebrated by other religions across India, too.

Anuroop Bayyarapu, an electrical engineering master’s student, said Diwali is not a festival that is limited to one category of people.

“All people can enjoy Diwali regardless of age, race or religion,” Bayyarapu said.

Celebrations are peaceful and typically involve lighting candles and firecrackers, which symbolizes lighting up the world and showing happiness, Bayyarapu said.

Shah said she is happy to share her cultural traditions with anyone who wants to join.

“I hope that people who come to this festival walk away knowing that Indians are not how they are portrayed in the media,” Bandi said. “We are accepting of every culture, respectful and social people.”

Jain said Sanskriti plans on hosting a Diwali festival again next year.

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