With Diwali taking place this year on Saturday, Oct. 30, Penn students are planning a weeklong series of events in advance of the holiday. Two Penn student organizations, Penn Hindu and Jain Association and its graduate school counterpart, Penn Rangoli, are collaborating to host the only Diwali event in Philadelphia that is open to the public.
Diwali is a large yearly celebration for the South Asian community, which many people consider India’s most important holiday of the year. It is known as the Hindu festival of lights because many candles are lit during Diwali celebrations to signify the victory of good over evil.
This celebration has been historically linked to Hinduism, but has since grown in popularity so that Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and other religious groups all participate in the festivities.
The two student organizations will host a pre-Diwali event on Tuesday, Oct. 25 in Huntsman Hall 350 from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.. The event will feature Diwali-themed Jeopardy and other activities. Later that night, those in attendance will place small electric candles on the 38th Street Bridge near Huntsman Hall.
The main event will occur on Saturday, Oct. 29 from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. in the Hall of Flags in Houston Hall. The event will include prayer, food, dancing and sparklers to celebrate the holiday. The Penn Hindu and Jain Association will also present information on why Diwali is celebrated.
College and Wharton junior Shreya Jaggi expressed her excitement about the event.
“Diwali represents a time for Hindus, Jains [and] Sikhs among other religious and culture communities to get together and celebrate!” she said in an email. “It is about new beginnings and reflecting on the past.”
She added, “At Penn’s annual celebration we have the opportunity to pray, learn about the significance of the festival of lights, dance and have a wonderful time with our university ‘family.’”