Sanskriti celebrates Dandiya at San Diego State

by Georgina Vargas, Contributor

The Association of Indian Students at San Diego State University, Sanskriti hosted the second largest Indian cultural event at SDSU, Dandiya, to celebrate the traditional folk dance from Gujarat, India.

Nearly 300 people attended Dandiya at the Parma Payne Goodall Center on Oct. 15.

“The significance of this event is the triumph of good over evil,” Byju Joy, the president of the Sanskriti organization said.

The Diwali celebration is the biggest Indian culture celebration at SDSU and Sanskriti continues to honor and celebrate both events on campus.

Dandiya is open to anyone who wants to learn about traditional dances, culture and food from India.

Joy said food and dance plays an important role in Indian traditions and it is important for Sanskriti to continue celebrating anywhere they live.

“During this time, this celebration is going on in India too so we replicate it,” Aishwarya Dev, secretary of the Sanskriti organization said.

The Dandiya dance involves dancers whirling and moving their feet and arms while holding sticks in a choreographed way to the rhythm of the music.

The colorful sticks used for the dance are called dandiya and they represent the swords of Durga.

Most attendees were wearing traditional clothing from India and dancing to the Dandiya and Garba dances.

Dev, along with many of the women at the event were wearing colorful, embroidered dresses with jewelry for their attire. Some wear bright dresses with slacks.

The men’s clothing also had colorful and patterned details.

“For a guy, a dress and slacks under is traditional in Gujurat,” Dev said.

The event consisted of several dances including Garba, Dandiya and Bollywood dance.

Dev says one cultural difference from Indian culture is that prayer and dancing comes first and dinner is eaten in the evening.

“Whenever we host something in our culture we offer food and dance because we feel that our guest is a god,” Joy said.

Sanskriti was created about 15 years ago by a group of students on campus.

The Co-Director of the Center for Information Convergence and Strategy and faculty of Geospatial Intelligence Akshay Pottathil said he is part of a small group that created Sanskriti to be able to celebrate these traditions at SDSU.

“I’m extremely proud of the Sanskriti current leadership and students for continuing to celebrate the holidays and festivals,” Pottathil said.

Sanskriti continues to encourage students to get involved in the organization’s events and learn more about India.

Joy said they also celebrate events from all religions to include a diverse group of guests. They host about six events every semester.