The Indian Student Organization brought the Festival of Lights — also known as Diwali — to USF last Wednesday evening.
“Diwali is our Indian new year. It’s celebrated across many different cultures and religions in India,” said Mudit Suebsukchareon, senior business administration major and president of ISO. “[The Festival of Lights] is basically lighting a lot of lamps, small candles, and keeping it very bright. You wear new clothes, eat a lot of food, and spend time with your family.”
The lighting of lamps and candles represents the victory of good over evil, and light over darkness. It is also symbolic of bringing in hope and wealth for the new year.
The celebration was held at McLaren Hall and included festivities that traditionally take place on Diwali. Tables were decorated with confetti and tea light candles, and ISO members came dressed in bright, ornate Attendees feasted on tandoori chicken, samosas, naan bread, and mango lassi (mango yogurt drink). ISO also showcased a one-minute preview of a traditional Indian dance they will be performing at Culturescape on Nov. 15. Henna (temporary die) tattooing was especially popular among students who lined up to get intricate body art.
Suebsukchareon has goals for this year to build a stronger community with Indian culture and more events. “I want to bring a different aspect to USF with Indian dance and activities like henna. This has a brought a lot of attention to people.” He plans to make Holi — the Festival of Colors — an annual Spring event on campus. Holi is another festive celebration in India where people chase and color each other with dry powder, and gather over food and dance.
ISO’s celebration of Diwali attracted many members of the USF community. Katrina Pasao, a sophomore biology major, said “I think it’s great that USF has a variety of culture events so that we can immerse ourselves in cultures we don’t know too much about.”