Diwali brings light to campus and a home for students
Colors, music and a vibrant atmosphere were all present at Diwali Night, hosted by Hindu YUVA- Youth for Unity, Virtues and Action and Carolina Asia Center in the FedEx Global Education Center.
In addition to Diwali Night, the Hindu-YUVA hosts other events, such as Holi Moli. They also hold discussion-based weekly meetings centered around Hinduism and the different ways the faith is practiced around the world.
Senior and President of Hindu-YUVA, Taruni Santanam, was one of the main organizers. Santanam chose to celebrate Diwali with the UNC campus because of its reach beyond the Hindu community.
“Diwali is one of the festivals that translate across many cultures and many states. It’s a great way to not only share how we practice it but also for multiple communities to come together as well,” said Santanam.
Diwali is a Hindu festival that represents light presiding over darkness, which symbolizes good over evil.
First-year Manivannan Senthil is one of the beatboxers for UNC Samaa, the South Asian a capella group who preformed at the event. The group is known for its seamless mashups of Indian and American pop songs.
"It’s a lot to do with our American Asian identity. The members of UNC Samaa — we like a vary variated amount of music and that’s kinda what pushes us to do both because we like American music as well as Indian music,” Senthil said.
Another student who helped bring the light of Diwali to UNC is junior Susan Chen, the event assistant at the Carolina Asia Center.
“The Asia Center really tries to encompass all types of backgrounds” Chen said.
Being away from home on important holidays seems to stretch the physical distance even further. The Asia Center aims to soothe the difficulties in such situations by providing an outlet for students to continue to practice their cultural traditions.
“Often times, in Cary and Raleigh they have their own Diwali, but when you’re on campus you’re stuck on campus and it’s hard to celebrate these kinds of things with a bunch of people,” Chen said.
Santanam shared a quote that comes to her mind when discussing Diwali.
It goes: “Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of a single candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”
This is what is thought of during the Diwali celebration.
“Diwali gives me the opportunity to do that,” Santanam said.
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