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Campus Ministry hosts Diwali celebration

| Monday, November 16, 2015

Notre Dame Campus Ministry held the annual celebration of Diwali, the Festival of Lights, in the LaFortune Student Center Ballroom this Sunday. The event, which lasted from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., celebrated the Hindu New Year.

According to the Campus Ministry website, this event is the first in their “Prayer From Around the World” series, which is an opportunity for the Notre Dame community to learn about different religious celebrations and traditions.

“Diwali is about celebrating good over evil, and the fact that there is light and love and good in the world despite all the bad things that go on every day,” Sneha Modi, undergraduate president of the Indian Association of Notre Dame (IAND), said.

According to Modi, the festival is held to honor the return of the Indian god, Rama and his wife from a 14-year exile. As a result, candles are lit in order to celebrate the triumph of light over darkness. Commonly called the Indian New Year, this celebration is filled with lights, food, colorful decorations and music.

“For me, Diwali is a time for families to socialize, share sweets and set off fireworks,” graduate president of IAND Nishant Singh said. “All of the families clean their homes and light candles to show off their house to the gods. They invite them to give their family wealth and luck for the new year.”

According to Singh, during Diwali, the woman of the house performs prayers, while the children bring plates of sweets to their neighbors.

Singh said IAND brought in the local Hindu priest to say the prayers that are typically performed on Diwali. These prayers invite the gods to bless the families with an auspicious new year.

“The local Hindu temple has been so generous to us. The women of the temple made and donated table decorations for the event,” Priscilla Wong, campus director for multicultural student ministry, said.

Modi said the event, which has been held at Notre Dame for over 20 years, served vegetarian Indian cuisine, a sacred Hindu tradition. She said she expected a turnout of 200 people.

Singh, who was raised in India, said the event holds a special place in his heart.

“Diwali is about family. It’s about friends. It’s about happy times and just everything that’s fun about growing up in India,” he said.

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