On October 19th, 2017, 300 students across Wharton dressed up in some of the finest Indian clothing I have ever seen. Was it for a fancy wedding? Nope. A festival? Yup. The festival we were celebrating was the oft-heard Diwali, the festival of lights. The festival is celebrated for a variety of reasons across India, both religious and non-religious.
Like India, the origins of its holidays are also beautiful and incredibly complex. For the less religious amongst us, Diwali is celebrated to mark the beginning of the Hindu new year and is also used to celebrate the harvest of rice and other crops. Symbolically, Diwali marks the victory of light over darkness and is portrayed religiously in many ways depending on the part of India it is being celebrated in. The most cited religious reason is the north Indian version where Lord Rama returns after 14 years of exile after defeating the demon king and is welcomed with open arms and, of course, lights!
This beautiful festival is richly celebrated and hosted by India Club every year and attended by a large diversity of students who enjoy the 3-course buffet, dance to the mix of Bollywood and American pop music and marvel at all the light-based designs. It takes a crew of about 23 people to put it together with a lion’s share of the execution done by the India Club social team, led by WG’18 Dhruv Jaggia and Arjun Baskaran this year. Thanks to India Club’s efforts and the popularity of the festival, tickets sold out much sooner than ever before (about 4 days before the event) so make sure to get your tickets right when sales open next year!