Diwali celebrated with Bollywood dance, stand-up and personal stories

Diwali celebration with various foods and performances. They were sold out of tickets days before the event. Photo by Takahiro Omura.

Diwali celebration with various foods and performances. They were sold out of tickets days before the event. Photo by Takahiro Omura.

by Reed Essex 
essexree@grinnell.edu

Grinnellians celebrated Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, last Saturday, Nov. 5 with an exciting and vibrant event.

“Everything just went with the flow,” said Dhruv Gupta ’17, who helped organize the event.

It kicked off around 6 p.m., when they opened the doors and invited people to eat. At 7 p.m. they started the variety of acts that they had prepared for the night. There was Bollywood dance and music, stand-up comedy, freestyling and they finished with a dance.

There were also more serious themes brought up in regards to Hindu culture and experience. One professor got up to tell three stories with embedded values in Hindu culture as well as philosophical concepts tying into the traditional stories he told. One student spoke about their experience having to leave Kashmir, a state in northern India where conflict and unrest have been present for decades.

“We will probably do this every single year,” Gupta said. “[South Asian Student Organization] just started up a year ago … as such I think it has established itself … it’s institutionalized.”

Gupta is very pleased at the organization of the event, even if there were a few hiccups on the way.

“It was amazing. I loved it. The food came together, the acts came together, we didn’t have any major mishaps, there were a few, but we improvised … it turned into a really good memory,” Gupta said.

Gupta is confident that Diwali will be a fixture of Grinnell in the future, and that as his class goes out, the next couple take charge, and continue to add to what Diwali means on campus.