Wellesley Celebrates Diwali

Students celebrate Diwali by Alumnae Hall
October 23, 2017

The celebration of Diwali illuminated Wellesley’s Alumnae Ballroom on the night of October 18 as more than 100 students and faculty members gathered for the “Festival of Lights.” The holiday symbolizes the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair, and is traditionally held on the night of the new moon.

Diwali, which means “row of lighted clay lamps,” is observed by some of the world’s oldest religions—Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism. Diwali celebrants light oil lamps and candles, create colorful patterns outside their homes, and play with sparklers. The festivities also include a prayer ceremony, and gathering with friends.

“There were people who came out who are very familiar with the tradition because they grew up celebrating Diwali with their families and communities, and we also had newcomers for whom this was a new experience,” said Wellesley’s Hindu chaplain, Shrestha Singh. “Overall, it was a joyous and uplifting occasion.”

Across the country, Diwali celebrations have become popular thanks to cultural traditions brought to the United States by Indian immigrants. Singh said the five-day observance of Diwali began Tuesday, October 18, and ended Saturday, October 21.