Baker Ballroom was lit with pink Sunday while children played onstage under the word “Diwali” spelled out with twinkling lights. 

The Indian Student Association, or ISA, hosted its Diwali celebration, bringing Indian culture and cuisine to Ohio University.

Diwali, the annual Festival of Lights, is celebrated by Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains. People traditionally decorate their houses with rows of clay lamps, which is where the festival gets its name. 

“One of the most popular festivals in India, it symbolically represents the triumph of light over darkness,” Diane Cahill, the interim director of International Student and Faculty Services and the director of operations for the Office of Global Affairs, said in a speech. 

The festival is five days long, but most celebration occurs on the third day and typically features feasts and fireworks. The date of the festivities varies year to year, and this year Diwali fell on Oct. 19. 

The event was hosted a month later because the Diwali date fell during midterms, and Baker Ballroom was unavailable, Hardika Singh, a freshman studying journalism and a member of ISA, said.

Though no fireworks were involved in the festivities, people celebrated with Indian food and music.

“I'm excited for whatever they've made,” Andrew Howard, a graduate student studying history, said before eating. “I'm sure it’ll be good.”

Ami Patel, a sophomore studying exercise physiology, was looking forward to eating Indian food she hadn't had in a while. 

“I don't know how to make it, and the only time I get to eat it is when I go home,” she said. 

Rick Wolfe, an OU custodial staff member, was also excited for the event. 

“I see people in the building, (and) I talk to them,” he said. "I'd like to experience a little bit more about their culture."

The night began with appetizers and dance performances. 

One performance was a traditional dance from the Gujarat state in India. Purva Diwanji, a graduate student studying physics, was excited to share her culture with the audience. 

“We’re really excited about all the Americans coming,” she said

McKayla Schmiesing, an undecided freshman, was impressed by the performance, calling it beautiful and intimate.

There were also musical performances and informational videos, which were followed by dinner and dancing. 

“It's very interesting to see how different it is,” Korri Basinger, an undecided freshman, said. 


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