SDSU students look ahead to Diwali

SDSU+students+at+a+Garba+Night+celebration.+Photo+courtesy+of+Akarsh+Kain.

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SDSU students at a Garba Night celebration. Photo courtesy of Akarsh Kain.

by Camille Dejoras, Staff Writer

This year, Diwali will be celebrated globally on Oct. 19. However international students from India will celebrate Diwali at San Diego State in November.

Diwali, also known as the festival of lights, is a five-day festival that celebrates the triumph of good over evil in Hindu mythology and the start of the new year.

Business administration junior Teja Velagaleti said the Sanskriti Association of Indian Students at SDSU will push the celebration back to November because they are currently celebrating Garba, which is a North Indian dance festival that leads up to Diwali.

“We wanted to wait till next month to do Diwali so that we can plan appropriately,” Velagaleti said. “We’ve been preoccupied with Garba, but once the event is over we will start organizing our Diwali celebration.”

Information systems management graduate student Ankita Chaturvedi said the event will be held at Montezuma Hall in the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union.

The specific date of the event is yet to be determined.

Chaturvedi said she encourages people to attend if they are interested in learning more about Hinduism and the Indian culture.

“Diwali is the cornerstone of our belief and Indian culture is represented really well in Diwali,” he said. “Everyone will be dressed up and there will be dance performances for all students to enjoy.”

Chaturvedi also said many students who are members of the SAIS tend to celebrate Diwali in their own way at home on the actual day in October.

She said although the international students can’t be home with their family and friends, they still find ways to celebrate in San Diego.

“I have set up lanterns on my balcony outside, and I know students who live together usually make food and invite their friends over to have a big feast,” Chaturvedi said.

She also said there are Indian stores across San Diego that sell all the supplies needed to celebrate Diwali, which is useful for students studying abroad from India.

Biological and medical informatics graduate student Nikunj Gala said it is tradition for families to burn oil lamps made from clay, also known as diyas, in every room in the house.

“We illuminate our house to signal the Goddess of Wealth to come and shower blessings and good fortune on our house and our families,” Gala said.

Velagaleti said it is popular for Hindu people of all ages to go out into the middle of the street after prayers are said and set off firecrackers and rockets to illuminate the sky.

“It is truly an amazing thing to experience,” Velagaleti said. “Although sometimes things can get rowdy and taken to extremes, overall it’s incredible to see young and old people celebrating together in the streets.”

Chaturvedi said that although firecrackers will not be allowed during their Diwali event on campus next month, students can still expect to see diyas and lanterns present all throughout Montezuma Hall.

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