Graduate Student Senate President's Corner: Diwali 2018
Updated: Jun 12, 2019
Graduate Student Senate President Joseph Campbell:
When daylight savings comes and the days get darker, we know winter is coming. But what better way to celebrate the light than with Diwali, or festival of lights.
On November 9, the Indian Students Association (ISA) hosted their annual Diwali event here on UVM campus, and boy was it a celebration! Fantastic food, song, dance, friends and a rich sense of tradition was displayed as in a single night students, faculty, staff and guests took part in the celebration of the triumph of good over evil.
This year was certainly a special one as the ISA put on another spectacular show for their twelfth annual festival. If you thought last year was large, this year was the largest one yet with over 400 attendees. And, as always, ISA did a fantastic job of involving students and the entire UVM community to make the celebration that much more special.
According to northern India legend, Lord Rama slew his wife Sita's kidnapper, the demon King Ravana. The celebration marks the return of Lord Rama. Small lanterns, or diyas, lit the streets to welcome Lord Rama, which translates to homes being illuminated with diyas during current Diwali tradition. Lakhsmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity, is also worshipped and welcomed by decorating the entrances of homes with rangolis — patterns created on the floor or ground using materials such as colored rice, sand or flower petals.
ISA president and GSS Treasurer Aayudah Das says that a main point of Diwali is unity, and ISA certainly shows that with the collaborative effort of members from more than six countries, majorly from India, but also graduate students from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Iran, Mauritius, Tunisia and Nigeria. ISA truly represents the unity and beauty in a culture where the mythical stories can vary from region to region and within the Hindu religion, but the rituals are always tied back to praying for knowledge, goodwill, peace and success.
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