November 7, 2018, Illinois Tech celebrated the joyous festival of Diwali. Diwali is the largest festival for Hindus throughout the year. It is celebrated with good food, henna, lights, prayers, and the warmth of family. Diwali symbolizes the "coming home" of the gods to their rightful place. To help the gods find their way to our homes, lights are put up to guide them in the right direction. We celebrate this event by bursting firecrackers and sparklers after the night-time prayers with our families.
Diwali is a festival of lights, and it is so in more ways than one. It represents the coming of a new year full of joy and prosperity for every household and the promise of a year that was better than the last. This festival has a very high cultural significance for a large number of Indian students on campus, as many of us were very far away from home and celebrating this occasion on our own for the very first time. To celebrate Diwali, the Vedic Vision Society organized an event in Hermann Hall!
The event had all the grandeur and show of a festival planned back home and included both the religious and community elements of Diwali. Hermann Hall was suitably decked with the pictures of the gods and decorated with flowers, garlands, and diyas (small lamps that are put out on Diwali). There was Indian food, music, and henna available for everyone that came and gifts and prizes were being given out during short games.
It really was like having a piece of home with us so far away from our hometowns. For those who were homesick during these holidays, it was a nice gesture and great way to ensure that the festival felt somewhat festive. Far away from homes, college gives us a family away from family and I’d like to thank the Vedic Vision Society for reminding us of that fact. Friends are our new families as we live and spend our time with them, and festivals are a good way to bond and understand each others’ cultures, especially as this event saw many non-Hindu students come out to support their friends.
Happy Diwali, Illinois Tech! Have a joyous and prosperous new year on behalf of all of us from TechNews!