The university of Exeter’s Hindu society organized a joint free event with the Asian Society on campus for all students and members of the community, in celebration of Diwali. The event took place on Sunday, the 30th October in the Forum Street from 3pm onwards.
Navin Nagesh, the Co-President of the Hindu Society described Diwali as a festival that “signifies the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil and hope over despair.”
Cultural activities were provided at the event, such as food and clothing stalls, along with various traditional dance performances. Available stalls on the day included face painting, henna art, diya painting, and a special costume trial. This year’s event also included a cultural photobooth, a Bollywood stall and free dance workshops.
Nagesh also told Exeposé that Diwali is “celebrated with [similar] festivities and rituals over a period of five days.” “We believe it’s important to host this event on campus to give everyone who celebrates Diwali an opportunity to embrace their traditions and maintain their cultural roots.”
Diwali is a famous Hindu festival that is celebrated around the world and on campus every autumn
Towards the end of the celebrations, at 6pm, the festivalgoers walked down to the XFI building by the business school, where they enjoyed a firework display.
Diwali is a famous Hindu festival that is celebrated around the world and on campus every autumn, and is also knows as the festival of lights. In the run up to the event, Suhruta Jasthi, the other co-president of the Hindu Society, said: “We hope many people from the local community will come to campus to celebrate Diwali with us.”
Guests at the event were welcomes by he Mayor of Exeter and University of Exeter Deputy Vice Chancellor (Education) Professor Tim Quine during the opening ceremony, at 3pm. The University’s Hindu Chaplain, Ravi Nathwan followed with a Hindu prayer.
Campus services at the University assisted with parking spaces around campus, as different parking zones were clearly sign posted and made free for the purposes of the event.
Similarly, the Guild’s Deputy Vice President, International praised the event:
“Diwali, just like any other cultural event on campus is something a lot of us associate with home. Being at university, thousands of miles away from home and still being able to celebrate the culture that one grows up in and holds dear is an absolutely amazing feeling. In addition to this self satisfaction, one also shares one’s culture while learning about the cultural practices from around the world, much of which shall happen next week with ISCs cultural week. Having such events on campus promotes diversity, inclusivity and overall student satisfaction which as aspects integral to both student mindsets and university agendas.”
On the following Monday, the 31st October, the University’s Hindu Chaplain, Nathwan, organised a new years worship with the offering of a mountain of free food (Govardhan Puja).
Nathwani said: “Diwali is celebrated every year by millions of people around the world. My favourite aspect of Diwali is the chance to meet and greet families and friends and exchange good wishes for happiness, as well as of course enjoying prayers and the Prasad – Feast of Offerings.”
“Celebrating Diwali at the University of Exeter is important as we have hundreds of international students who would miss home. It also allows people from all backgrounds to come together enjoy and learn about different customs.”