VERMILLION, S.D. – The University of South Dakota Asian American Student Association (AASA) in collaboration with the Center for Diversity and Community (CDC) will host the annual Diwali Celebration Nov. 6 from 6:15-9 p.m. at the Muenster University Center.
Diwali, the festival of lights, is one of the most awaited and most celebrated festivals of Hinduism.
“The five-day festival gets its name from the row (avali) of clay lamps (deepa) that people in South Asian countries light outside their homes to symbolize the inner light that protects from spiritual darkness,” said Naivetya Patle, president of AASA. “People from all the parts of India welcome this festival with enthusiastic gestures.
“Lighting Diyas and candles all around the house, exchanging heartfelt gifts, worshipping the Goddess Laxmi & Saraswati and Lord Ganesha to summon health and wealth and bursting crackers are the chief rituals of the festival. The special attraction of the occasion is a grand feast with delicious food that includes different varieties of sweets,” Patle added.
AASA and the CDC have many activities planned, including the Dandiya Dance (a traditional rhythmic stick game), clay Diya painting and paper Diwali Lantern making. There will also be a variety of cultural and traditional dance and singing performances and an array of South Asian cuisine and South Asian music to entertain the guests throughout the evening.
This year, AASA will also present a drama performance centered around the reason why Diwali is celebrated.
“AASA and the CDC are working to their best abilities to make this event a remarkable one,” Patle said. “Both AASA and CDC welcome everyone who is the part of USD and Vermillion community to be a part of this beautiful evening.”
Tickets for USD Students and children 12 and under are free. Tickets are $5 for faculty, staff and community members. Contact the CDC office at 605-677-7248 or visit their website for more information.