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Annual Hindu Diwali Festival Transforms Rivers Memorial Hall

By Sophomore Marissa Pappas WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 25, 2017 - 7:07 AM All News

On Thursday evening, October 19, the University Office of Spiritual Life sponsored the Diwali Festival, an annual Festival of Lights, in Rivers Memorial Hall, celebrated by many peoples from India of various spiritual traditions. About 50 faculty, staff, and students joined to participate in many of the customs associated with the festival.

On the same night that Hindus celebrate Diwali, Jains celebrate a festival also called Diwali to mark the attainment of moksha by Mahavira, Sikhs celebrate Bandi Chhor Divas to mark the release of Guru Hargobind from a Mughal Empire prison, and Newar Buddhists, unlike the majority of Buddhists, celebrate Diwali by worshipping Lakshmi.

Common to all the faith traditions, Diwali emphasizes light overcoming darkness, good overpowering evil, and knowledge over ignorance. Guests were given a short introduction to the celebration by University international students and were then welcomed into a prayer ritual.

All attendees were offered the chance to take part in the Hindu tradition of marking one’s forehead with Tilaka as a welcome ritual. Following the ceremonies, guests were invited to enjoy a traditional Indian meal served buffet style. Soon after, guests were on their feet again participating in traditional Hindu dancing to lively Indian music. Diwali is meant to be a joyful holiday of celebration, and the atmosphere and energy in Rivers Hall was a testimony to the success of the event.