Celebrate festival of lights with dinner, art
The Hindu Students Council will shed light on the Hindu holiday Diwali tonight with a dinner to celebrate the festival of lights.
Though the official Diwali date was Nov. 9th, HSC, a University organization dedicated to enlightening students on Hindu culture, will hold Diwali Dhamaka from to 6 to 11 p.m. tonight.
"Diwali symbolizes a new beginning and the triumph of good over evil. During Diwali, Indians throughout the world wear new clothes and share sweets and snacks," political science senior Neerav Shah, a Hindu Students Council member, said. "Some Indian business communities start their financial year on Diwali and begin new account books on this day.
Every Diwali, it is a tradition for people to greet each other and spread the feeling of warmth and happiness."
The dinner features not only food, but cultural performances, art, delicious vegetable cuisine and candles, said art education junior Vipul Divecha, president of the UH’s HSC.
But for Divecha, what is most important about the event is the understanding, sharing and preserving of Hindu culture.
The Hindu Student Council features more than 250,000 members nationwide in 90 chapters of the country.
"The first chapter was at MIT in 1990, and it only had 10 members, who all came from India directly," Divecha said. "They held informal meetings, and then the numbers have grown, and now there are over 250,000 members nationwide."
The UH chapter, which began in 2004, boasts 126 members, said the council’s events coordinator Said Sadhu, a biology junior. Sadhu said she enjoys events like Diwali Dhamaka because "it allows you to meet people that you usually don’t interact with, and it lets you learn more about the Hindu culture and heritage."
The mission statement of the HSC is to foster awareness about Indian and Hindu culture for both Hindus and non-Hindus, Divecha said.
A member since 2005, Divecha joined because he wanted to expand his knowledge of the Hindu culture. Eventually, he worked his way up to president.
"(The organization) is the largest non-profit Hindu youth group outside of India: we are the†youth voice of Hinduism in America," Divecha said.
Since becoming chapter president, Divecha has strived to use creative methods to achieve the council’s goals. One way he accomplishes this is through leadership training workshops, which feature speeches from professionals in their respective industries. Divecha said the UH chapter also frequently interacts with other chapters and takes an annual trip to Austin for a conference with other members of the Southwest Region.
"This region is one of the fastest growing in the U.S., and we are excited about learning about and discussing the Hindu culture," he said.
Divecha also works to promote Hinduism’s health-consciousness, such as vegetarianism and Vipsan, a form of meditation that takes only five minutes and helps individuals calm down, breathe and relieve stress.
Diwali Dhamaka is open to everyone and will be held at Cullen Oaks. Admission is $1 for HSC members and $5 for others.
For more information, visit www.uh.edu/hsc, or e-mail Divecha at [email protected]