Diwali brings much needed warmth to a North Carolina state winter

This article was originally published on The technician November 10, 2021.

On Thursday, November 4, Poole College of Management hosted a celebration of Diwali in Governors Scott’s Yard, complete with a henna station, dance performances and food.

For the average person, November 4th might have seemed like the worst day to host an outdoor festival, especially Diwali, the festival of lights. The temperature was in the low 40s, it had rained most of the day and at 4 am the sun was still not there.

Indifferent to the weather, Priya Sharma, a sophomore accounting student, said she first heard of Diwali when she was younger. The tale follows a god, Rama, and his goddess wife, Sita, while they were in exile from their land in the middle of a forest.

“At one point, Sita was kidnapped by this 10-headed demon named Ravana and basically a war has broken out, ”Sharma said. “So for a while, Rama and his brother Lakshmana are fighting and fighting to get Sita back.”

Eventually, Ravana is defeated and Rama, Lakshmana, and Sita aim to return to their Ayodhya kingdom after a 14-year exile.

“Diwali is the day when people lit thousands of candles so that the brothers could go home and celebrate their return,” Sharma said.

For Sharma, Diwali holds a special place in her heart as it is the first story she can remember being told. Even on a cold and drizzly day, the importance was not lost on her.

This Diwali story is the latest in a series of stories about Rama, all detailed in one of the most famous Hindu epics. Ramayana, but it’s not the only one.

“We have a lot of celebrations during these winter months when the weather is usually gloomy and cold and we learn so much through it,” said parent Devika Kathresal. “So in a dark and cold season we have celebrations of light and fireworks.”

Stand in line while waiting Samosas and Frooti mango drinks, Devika Kathresal clearly described Hinduism.

“Even though there are thousands and thousands of gods, everything is created by humans,” said Devika Kathresal. “… We see God in everything. Each festival has multiple meanings and stories to reflect on and learn from; you don’t just worship it.

Each Hindu festival is a time to reflect and focus on something different and this reflection has a certain level of respect, seen in the dress and the occasional puja.

Devika Kathresal’s daughter, Richa Kathresal, was also present.

“Diwali is honestly like Indian Christmas, and it’s the most popular, so you dress the nicest way,” said Richa Kathresal. “Usually that means it has to be new as well. “

Diwali is a weeklong celebration, so few formal Indian outfits were seen last Wednesday, largely due to the weather, but also because many had already had their main Diwali celebrations the night or the days before.

As the weather gets even bleaker and students scramble from exam to exam, the Diwali festivities couldn’t have come at a more perfect time.

Well placed, behind all the dancing and music, was a canvas that read: “This festival of lights symbolizes the spiritual victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance.”

Whatever one’s religious status, this sentiment is worth celebrating, and no one can remain unhappy with a samosa in their hands.

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