Diwali Festival of Lights comes to Furman

NOVEMBER 15, 2012
by Jenn Summers ’13, Contributing Writer

More than 150 students and guests arrived at Furman Hall Tuesday to participate in a small lecture and celebration for the traditional Hindu holiday Diwali, organized by a diverse group of campus organizations on Tuesday night.

The organizations – Association of Hindu Students (AHS), Cooperative Students Fellowship, Canterbury, Muslim Students Association, as well as the Asian Studies and Religion Departments, all contributed to the festivities. The program involved lectures on the history of the festival from history professor Savita Nair in history and Asian Studies Professor Lisa Knight.

Diwali is also known as the Indian Festival of Lights. Traditionally a Hindu commemoration of the defeat of the evil king Ravana by the god Vishnu. Today, many different religions celebrate the holiday as a symbol of victory of good over evil.

During the celebration, students from the AHS chanted a traditional Diwali song in Hindu and performed a small ceremony using a candle to bless the meal that was provided after the lectures.

Each participant left with a sign of their participation: an open-minded awareness of another culture and a red spot of ink on the forehead to commemorate the occasion.

Parth Thakker, one of the student organizers and member of the AHS, was excited to see such a large turnout for one of the first events organized by the small and newly-formed organization.

“I think it went really well. We’re excited to bring more events like this to campus in the future,” Thakker said.

The Diwali festival was part of a week-long series supported by the International and Study Away Office encouraging students to explore different cultures and seek information about the international community.