Kenyon Marks DiwaliGAMBIER, Ohio (October 28, 2005) The Kenyon community will celebrate the Indian festival of lights, Diwali, at 10:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 5, in Gund Commons Lounge.
Sponsored by the South Asian Multicultural Organization for Student Awareness (SAMOSA.), the celebration will feature Nacha Punjab, a bhangra dance troupe from Canada. Bhangra is a traditional Punjabi folk dance, which originated as a way to celebrate the harvest season. The dancing will be interactive, alternating between performing and engaging the audience in learning the bhangra moves. Celebrants will also be able to get decorative henna tattoos and enjoy recorded Indian music. Food will be catered by an Indian restaurant from Columbus, Ohio.
One of the most well-known of Indian festivals, Diwali is celebrated throughout India as well as in Indian communities worldwide. The name "festival of lights" is derived from the tradition of lighting small oil lamps (called diyas) to place around the home, courtyards, verandahs, gardens, rooftops, and outer walls. In urban areas, candles are often substituted for diyas. The festival celebration is accompanied by fireworks and the exchange of sweets and gifts.
As with other Indian festivals, Diwali signifies many things in different regions of India. In north India, Diwali celebrates Rama's homecoming, his return to Ayodhya after the defeat of Ravana, and his coronation as king. In Gujarat, the festival honors Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth or prosperity, and in Bengal, it is associated with the goddess Kali. Everywhere, it signifies the renewal of life and, accordingly, it is common to wear new clothes on the day of the festival. It can also herald the approach of winter and the beginning of the sowing season.
Whatever may be the fables and legends behind the celebrations of Diwali, the steadily burning oil lamps or candles serve as a constant symbol of an illuminated mind.