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Lycoming College students from India and Mauritius invited other members of the campus community to join them in a celebration of Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights, on campus, Sunday, Nov. 11. While there are many reasons behind the celebration of this festival, most Hindus celebrate Diwali to welcome Lakshmi, the Hindu Goddess of wealth and prosperity, into their homes.
Approximately 80 members of the Lycoming College community celebrated the holiday together in the Jane Schultz Room of the Wertz Student Center. Guests enjoyed a catered dinner featuring traditional dishes from Mauritius and India. One of the customs of the Diwali festival is the preparation and distribution of a myriad of sweets and delicacies. The students who organized the event worked together to prepare several such sweets to offer guests, including as Rasgulla, Goolab Jamun, Barfi, Mawa Samossa, and Ras Malai.
The night was also filled with dance performances by students, some of whom shared their experiences of Diwali celebrations at home. For example, many talked about how it is customary to buy new clothes to wear for the festival, clean the house days in advance in anticipation of the celebration, and help their family to prepare sweets that they would distribute to friends and neighbors. Several students also talked about the unifying aspect of the festival that brings communities together to celebrate light. In Mauritius, for instance, Diwali is celebrated at a national level, and anyone, irrespective of religious belief, is invited to partake in the festivities.
The night ended with the lighting of clay lamps on the Wertz patio, which is a noteworthy tradition of the Diwali festival symbolizing the victory of light over darkness, and welcomes Lakshmi.