International Students

Diwali Celebration

Diwali Night, Festival of Lights 2009


Diwali Night, Festival of Lights 2007


Diwali Two 

Diwali Three 

Top photo from left to right: Suganya Renganathan, Chandana Karthik, Anitha Karthikeyan, Dey Barriga and Nivea Ananth. Center photo from left to right: Chandana Karthik, Anitha Karthikeyan, Roberta Rayno, Sr. Gloria Lemieux, and Nivea Ananth. Bottom photo from left to right: Suganya Renganathan, Chandana Karthik, Anitha Karthikeyan, Dey Barriaga and Nivea Ananth. 

Brightly colored Indian suits, silk saris and popular Indian movie songs lent gaiety to Diwali celebrations at Rivier on November 9. The Office of International Students Advising hosted the event. Approximately 40 guests participated in the celebration coordinated by graduate students Nivea Ananth and Chandana Karthik.
Diwali, the holiday of joy, is a festival signifying the victory of good over evil. The festival of lights traditionally involves "diyas," or clay lamps, lit with oil and wicks. At dusk, when darkness unfolds, a spectacular illumination of tiny flickering lamps adorns homes, buildings and streets.  The illumination, fireworks, joy and festivity signify the victory of divine forces over evil ones.

The Dion Center Reception Room was lit with candles and luminaries and special Indian art, rangoli.  Rangoli features colorful images, figures or floral motifs made with colored powders. Anitha, a graduate computer science student, created the floral designs for the evening.

Nivea began Rivier’s Diwali celebration with a welcome address and traditional invocation prayer. The invocation is usually done at the beginning of the program to request that the higher power be present for the working of any event or activity.

Chandana explained the significance of Diwali and the Indian art. Guests played Pictionary and musical chairs; they also enjoyed Indian sweets and appetizers. Some students contributed specially made Indian delicacies to share with friends and staff.  As the evening came to a close, Nivea, Chandana, and Anitha performed a spontaneous dance that added a celebratory spirit to the evening.

For people of Indian heritage, Diwali celebrations are always tinged deeply with nostalgia. Suganya Renganathan, a graduate computer science student, fondly remembered how this festival was celebrated back at home. She said, “When we are so far away, when we don't have any family or relatives, our friends become our family. Celebrating together brings together that sense of community.”

-Reported by: Nivea Ananth

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