Fireworks lit up the night sky over campus in celebration of Diwali, one of the most important holidays in the Hindu calendar.
Diwali, which took place officially on 13 November this year, was celebrated in style at UEA on 19 November, with both the Indian Society and Hindu Society coming together to create an unforgettable night.
The LCR was an explosion of colour with a variety of different decorations and bright clothing worn by the attendees. The performances throughout the night added to this, with each of the dancers wearing a large grin during their acts.
The first two sets of performers to come on stage performed classic and modern Bollywood dances. Later in the night, the UEA Indian Dance Squad performed their Bhangra Beats, a mix of classic bhangra, one of many different forms of Indian dancing, with modern dancing.
Each of the dance acts were incredibly talented, but that wasn’t all that was on offer throughout the night. Prenin Philippiah, president of the Indian Society, then showed off his vocal talents along with another singer later on in the night.
The origins of Diwali were also explained throughout the evening by the hosts. Diwali roughly translates into English as “The Festival of Light”. The Times of India claims that in modern times the festival stands for, “a reaffirmation of hope, a renewed commitment to friendship and goodwill, and a religiously sanctioned celebration of the simple – and some not so simple – joys of life.”
The event included a three-course Indian meal and a disco at the end of the night, with professional DJ.
One of the night’s highlights was of course the fireworks, a necessity for the modern celebration of Diwali. They were set off on campus near the lake, with attendees being led out of the LCR by people playing the Dhol, a double headed drum, as though taking part in a procession.
The Diwali Diya was a sold-out event, attracting students not just from an Indian or Hindu background, but from a number of different cultures too. One of the aims of the event was to promote a cross cultural interest in Diwali, with students from any nationality and faith being invited to the event.
The festival was also one of the first events to promote UEA’s Go Global Year. The Go Global Year is a programme being developed by the International Student Advisory Team (ISAT) to help promote the different cultural events and groups at UEA; whether they are run by the university itself or through student organizations such as the Indian and Hindu societies.
One way that the ISAT is helping to promote UEA’s diverse culture is through the construction of the online Go Global calendar. Any events or programs held at the university which involve promoting a different culture in any way are welcome to be placed on the calendar. The calendar will help these events gain wider exposure and allow ISAT to record the many different cultural events taking place.
If events such as Diwali Diya continue to be a success, the Indian Society and ISAT hope that it will not only promote diversity at UEA, but it will also bring new cultures into the university; as students from within the UK and abroad become increasingly aware of UEA’s global reputation.
There is no doubt that Diwali Diya was a success, and is sure to continue to be one in future years.