"On Diwali, Wishes for Every Joy and Prosperity," Student Celebrations Mark Diwali 2015

November 11, 2015
Candles lit in celebration of Diwali

Today is Diwali, the festival of lights and one of the most well known South Asian religious festivals. Diwali literally means “row of lamps.” The festival gets its name from the row of clay lamps (or deepa) that people light outside their homes to symbolize the inner light that protects people from spiritual darkness.

"There is more than one story associated with Diwali…one of the main [stories] is one that comes from the great epic Ramayana," said Vaishali Gupta, Wellesley's Hindu Chaplain. In this tradition, the festival marks the day when one of the Hindu Gods, Bhagwan Ram, returned to his kingdom after 14 years in exile.

"He comes back after defeating Ravana, the powerful 10 headed demon who had abducted Ram’s wife, Sita," Gupta said. "People of [his kingdom] rejoiced as Ram and Sita come home and light lamps to welcome them and celebrate the victory of good over evil."

Darshana, Wellesley's Hindu student organization, will host a puja with the Multifaith Council today at lunchtime. "A puja is a Hindu worship service with prayers and chanting," explained Tiffany Steinwert, Dean of Religious and Spiritual Life. "Students from many faith and non-faith traditions will join Darshana as they celebrate Diwali and offer prayers for the day. It is a wonderful sharing of faith and community."

The campus community is also invited to join the public Diwali ritual this evening at 6pm in the Diana Chapman Walsh Alumnae Hall Ballroom. The gathering will include worship, dinner, and performances followed by lighting sparklers on the patio outside. People from all faith and non-faith traditions are invited.

"Through this event, we hope to create a space for all students to experience—at a small scale—the festivities associated with Diwali, while allowing for Hindu students to celebrate the auspicious occasion with their Darshana family since they cannot be at home," said Disha Okhai '17, president of Darshana.

The International Business Times offered ten greetings to wish loved ones for Diwali 2015, and we’ll conclude with one: "On Diwali, wishes for every joy and prosperity. Here's hoping that the beauty of this festival of lights brings a world of joy, happiness and contentment to you to last the whole year through. Happy Diwali!"