Events Life + Arts

Diwali celebration showcases vibrant culture, dances

UH Dining in partnership with Center for Diversity and Inclusion held its first Diwali celebration. | Atirikta Kumar/The Cougar

For the first time, UH Dining in partnership with the Center for Diversity and Inclusion hosted a Diwali celebration at Cougar Woods on Monday. With Bollywood beats, dazzling lights and a colorful rangoli, UH students showed up in traditional Indian clothes to celebrate the Festival of Lights. 

One of the biggest festivals in India, Diwali symbolizes good prevailing over evil. 

“We wanted to make an impact, do more events that meant more to the University and to the student body,” said UH dining marketing manager, Alexcis Mendoza. “And so we thought that with such a diverse student body, that we could do events that were important to you all and so what we wanted to do the main thing is talk with the subject matter experts.” 

To celebrate the event as authentically as possible student organizations such as Graduate Indian Student Organization, Hindu YUVA and Action and the Indian Student Association helped put the event together. The goal was to make students feel celebrated and make it feel like home. 

“I’m grateful to the University for giving us this opportunity,” said industrial engineering graduate student, Gauri Khanna. “So that we can just come together and celebrate our cultural festival with our friends and family once you’re away from home.” 

The dining hall was filled with students dressed in authentic Indian clothes and students enjoyed Indian food and desserts. Additionally, students were able to get Mehandi from a local artist and enjoy dance performances from a  group. 

While the event was meant for Indian students to feel at home, it also served as a good experience for someone who wasn’t aware of Diwali celebrations before. 

Although psychology junior Julia Bennett had experienced Indian culture before, she had never been a part of a Diwali celebration, and for her, taking a part in the event was a pleasant experience. 

“It’s really good to see that we’re just engaging in more cultures outside of Western culture because I know this event wasn’t here last year,” Bennett said.

UH dining plans to continue its cultural expression series, celebrating Native American heritage month in November.   

“This idea for a larger focus on our cultural series came from really us thinking about what is important to the students, and how can we make an impact,” Mendoza said. 

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly labeled Hindu YUVA as Youth for Unity Virtue and Action. 

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