From the Director of Publicity of South Asians Association at Trent (SAAT)…
Dazzling displays of light and colors; loud noises, new clothes and exquisite delicacies just cheer up the festive mood. When millions of oil lamps, candles and colorful electric lights blink and firecrackers light up the sky for many nights in a row, you know that the south Asians are celebrating Diwali.
Diwali, or Deepawali, is South Asia’s biggest and most important holiday of the year. The festival gets its name from the name Awali which means “row” and Deepa which means “clay lamps.” It is these rows of clay lamps that people light outside their homes to symbolize the inner light that protects us from spiritual darkness. The sparkling “festival of lights”, Diwali, is celebrated all over the world with great piety and enthusiasm. The main theme that runs throughout the festival is the triumph of light over darkness and good over evil. Diwali is held in honor of Goddess Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity.
To those who are hearing about this festival for the first time, to give you a better perspective, Diwali is like Christmas. That’s because in addition to a week’s vacation from school, they also receive gifts, attend parties, eat delicious meals and best of all, get to play with fireworks!
In preparation for Diwali, people clean their houses and offices and wear new clothes, not only to remove the dust but also the negativity and darkness from their houses and their lives, to welcome a positive new year. On the day of Diwali, people light rows of earthen Diyas (oil lamps) outside their houses and decorate their houses with colorful Rangoli artworks – patterns created on the floor using chalk, rice or colored powder which makes the house even more welcoming to guests. Even offices and shops are decorated with candles and colorful lights. The day begins with friends and family doing a pooja (a form of worshipping the deities in South Asia) to honor Goddess Lakshmi. After which families and friends share sweets and gifts as there is a strong belief that it strengthens relationships.
As people dress up in new clothes and fireworks illuminate the sky, the day is drawn to a close with people performing traditional dances as well as a bit of a Bollywood touch.
This year South Asian Association at Trent (SAAT) will be hosting the DIWALI WEEKEND on the 13th, 14th and 15th of October, in in collaboration with Trent Central Student Association (TCSA).
On Friday, October 13th, we are hosting the club night which will be held at SHOTS (379 George Street N). It will be starting at 10 pm and will end at 2am. The perfect time to groove and shake a leg to the best Bollywood, Punjabi and South Indian songs.
On Saturday, October 14th, it is the Bollywood movie night, which will be held at the Wenjack Theatre. This event will start at 5 pm and end at 8pm. Best part is that there will be refreshments and snacks and there is no age restriction.
On Sunday, October 15th, it is DIWALI NIGHT. It will start at 6 pm at The Great Hall. As usual, expectations for the event are high. The hall will be decorated by lights and oil lamps known as Diya. Our guests will be welcomed by beautiful designs of Rangoli on the floor and a Bollywood tune.
There will be beautiful folk dances and wonderful singing performances, followed by a delicious 4 course traditional South Asian (Indian) meal. To draw the night full of joy to a close there will be an array of lights in the sky as we all can enjoy bursting fire crackers.
Our volunteers and the SAAT executive team cordially invite everyone to be the part of this auspicious occasion and our amazing culture.