Cougars celebrate festival of lights
The Hindu Students Association celebrated its second Diwali festival with traditional Indian food, clothing and decorations on Friday at the World Affairs Lounge in the University Center Underground.
“It’s a festival of lights, celebrated in India and throughout the world by Hindu populations,” said Kevin Mezquita, a business and pre-medicine sophomore and secretary of HSA. “A gathering of family and friends celebrating the new year in the Indian calendar.”
Diwali, which translates to row of lamps, is a five day celebration marking Lord Rama’s defeat of Ravana, a Sri Lankan demon king, and Lord Krishna’s defeat of Narakasura, the demon king of ignorance.
“We wanted to bring the cultural experience of India to college students,” said Supriya Aggarwal, an accounting honors junior and president of HSA. “It’s a celebration of conquering evil.”
The festival included traditional Indian food such as Mattar Paneer, Gulab Jamun desserts and colorful Indian attire.
“You can wear any color, but you can’t wear black; it’s a bad omen,” Aggalwar said, pointing to her churidar dress.
Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity, and Ganesh, the god of new beginnings, are also worshipped during this festival.
“The more lights in the house, the easier it is for (Lakshmi) to come,” Aggarwal said.
The UC Underground was decorated with Diya candles, earthen lamps with cotton wicks and oil and rangolis, which are colored pastes and powders.
“We give presents to family members, make food and decorate our houses,” said Hetshree Patel, a pre-pharmacy junior and vice president of HSA.
A traditional Diwali celebration has fireworks lighting up the sky at the end of the night, and though there were none at this festival, hopes still ran high.
“We wish we could do fireworks, but because of the fire ban, we couldn’t. So we understand,” Aggarwal said.