On Sunday, October 28th, the Indian student community at Rolla provided a cultural show and dinner on campus. This annual festival takes place during Diwali, which is commonly known as the Festival of Lights. The name is quite fitting for a festival that represents good overcoming evil.
Culturally, Diwali is a time to celebrate good defeating evil. The word “Diwali” stems from the word “Deepavali,” which is a Sanskrit word meaning row of lamps. The festival itself is five days and is celebrated by millions of Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains worldwide. Falling during the Hindu New Year, the celebration is focused on new beginnings and light overcoming darkness. Although people celebrate this occasion for different reasons, the most popular reason is because of a legend involving Lord Rama and Sita, his wife, and their return to their kingdom in northern India. They defeated an evil king, Ravanna, and left exile. Traditionally, fireworks are involved in the celebration along with candles in honor of their defeat. Naturally, there was also a fireworks display at S&T campus on the 28th to uphold with tradition.
Over one hundred S&T students help with the production of this celebration and eight hundred to a thousand people attend the event each year. Lots of helping hands were crucial to putting on this production to say the least. From organizing the event, to making the dinner, to dancing and singing, to the technical side of the show, students and Rolla residents came together to make this event spectacular.
The India Association is responsible for putting on the festivities. Their goal on campus is to help the Indian student community by continuing traditions and nurturing Indian culture while providing education of their culture to others. They say their events are more than just an event, but rather, an expression of their traditions and diversity. As an organization, they help students with the transition from India to MS&T. With airport rides and temporary housing, they try to make new students feel welcome and at home. This aid is crucial for helping people adapt to a new environment and feel welcomed at S&T. The transportation they provide to the airport for major breaks is crucial, as it helps all students to make it back home to celebrate the time off with their families.
With two major events throughout the year, the India Association successfully brings a taste of Indian culture to our campus. Between Diwali in the fall and Holi in the spring, every student has an opportunity to experience the traditions and culture of other students on our campus. Not to mention, appreciate the hard work the students in the India Association put into these events. They personally cook for all the attendees. This offers them an opportunity to present their culinary skills and reminisce on their favorite home-cooked dishes. Students also work hard to show their talents in various art performances to make the occasions more involved and exciting.
The students involved with putting on the Diwali celebration were very successful in demonstrating and sharing a piece of their culture with the S&T community. Between the preparation and execution of the event, Diwali was brought to our campus in an amazing way. It is clear that their hard work with the event and all the efforts of the India Association have been a great asset to our university.