For many years, the Asian Students in America (ASIA) has hosted their annual Diwali celebration. This year, the group decided to work with the Indian Student Association (ISA) to bring this night to life.
Gitanjali Sattanathan, the president of the ISA, said their group and ASIA put a lot of time into the event.
“We put in so much effort to meet with the executive team of ASIA,” Sattanathan said. “They have been the ones conducting Diwali until now. … Even though Diwali is primarily an Indian festival, ASIA has been conducting it so far, so this time we decided to collaborate with ASIA.”
The Vice President of ASIA Pim Thongtad said the two groups had met earlier to prepare for this night. They had to plan out who was going to perform and who was going to bring the food.
“This took a little over a month of planning with our executive members of ASIA and ISA,” Thongtad said. “A lot of thought went into it with food and decorations. This whole thing took us all day Friday to set up and (Saturday) also. It’s a lot of work but we’re glad we are doing it for the community.”
Diwali is a festival celebrated by numerous religions including Hinduism, Jainism and Sikhism. However, all groups may celebrate the holiday differently.
Thongtad said the event is mostly celebrated in South Asia with there being colorful lights.
“Diwali is celebrated in South Asia mostly,” Thongtad said. “It is called the festival of lights and it’s a five day festival. It’s a big celebration of colors, full of lights and a family celebration.”
Sattanathan said she wanted everyone to enjoy the performances and understand why Diwali is celebrated. Thongtad also agreed with her.
Thongtad said she also hoped with the event it would bring people together and in the end have a more well rounded community in Vermillion.
“I hope they get to meet someone from somewhere they’re never been before,” Thongtad said. “I hope it creates a more well rounded community. I hope people learn more about cultures that they might not have heard about before.”
To check out more events from both ASIA and ISA, check out the USD Involved page at https://usdinvolved.usd.edu/organization/aasa or https://usdinvolved.usd.edu/organization/indianstudentassociation or their social media.
Photo Credit: The Volante | Sydney Kolln