by Julia Vaccarella ’20
The annual holiday Diwali, the Festival of Lights, came alive at Providence College with a celebration on campus. Diwali is a widely celebrated holiday for Sikhs, Hindus, and Jains who observe it each year in various nations and cultures all over the world. The Festival of Lights serves to commemorate the triumph of good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair.
On the evening of Wednesday, October 20, lanterns were lit along Slavin Lawn as a celebration. The Office of Student Activities and Cultural Programming sponsored the event, which was open to PC students and the surrounding community. Its ultimate purpose was to showcase some of the rich array of traditions associated with Diwali and the many people who celebrate the holiday each year.
With tables set up outdoors for students, everyone enjoyed a variety of Indian foods. The food was catered by Kabob and Curry, a restaurant located on Thayer Street. The menu included traditional Indian cuisine such as samosas, basmati rice, pakora, and lentils.
Alongside henna tattoos, students also had the opportunity to decorate traditional Indian oil lamps known as Diya, which they were encouraged to take home at the end of the event. Other students painted colorful Rangoli patterns on the ground outside of Slavin Lawn using stencil templates.
Student Activities also offered music and dancing. Everyone enjoyed a forty-five minute Bollywood-style dance workshop by dancer Neha Sood. After her performance, students learned and practiced dance moves on their own. The celebration eventually came to a conclusion with sparklers.
It was the first Diwali event to be held at PC, and many participants had positive comments about its outcome. The event was another opportunity to incorporate cultural programming in events for PC students to enjoy.
Given that Diwali is a holiday that is so widely celebrated, Elizett Pires, the assistant director for the Office of Student Activities and Cultural Programming, attended the event and said that the main purpose of this particular celebration was to expose the students of PC to different cultures and traditions. The Diwali event brought members of the PC community together while providing an opportunity to learn more about Indian culture and tradition.