Hundreds of excited guests wearing lehengas, kurtas and sarees were full of anticipation on Friday night, lining up outside the Great Hall for UNC Hindu YUVA’s 12th annual Diwali Night.
The banquet hall of the Student Union was at full capacity for the sold-out event.
Attendees were met with a slew of activities to celebrate the Indian holiday — including painting diya, small oil lamps that light up Diwali celebrations; rangoli crafts reminiscent of the sand paintings used as Diwali decorations; and a henna station.
With two sets from Chai Town, an a cappella group from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and four energizing dance shows from Tar Heel Raas, Ek Taal, Bhangra Elite and YUVA’s own members, the night was filled with captivating performances and contagious cheers.
YUVA's executive team worked for months to prepare.
“Just about every member was there helping in some way, shape or form,” Atharva Vispute, the co-president of YUVA, said. “By the end of the night, it was a family.”
Diwali is a holiday celebrated throughout India and the Indian diaspora. It is known as the festival of lights and prosperity, and symbolizes the victory of light over darkness and good over evil.
Avanish Bharadwaj, who attended the event, explained that he celebrates Diwali with his family by cleaning his home, lighting diyas and exchanging gifts.
“Just a really tiny lamp can't really give off a lot, but when they all come together, when the community comes together, it illuminates the entire city,” Bharadwaj said.