The Stanford Hindu College students Affiliation (HSA) hosted their annual DiwaliFest in Memorial Church (MemChu) Sunday, attracting a big congregation of all ages as attendees stuffed almost each pew within the church.
“We need to take a number of moments to rejoice and take away all of the darkness from our lives and this world. We need to carry gentle into our communities,” stated HSA pupil chief Akash Shah ’26 in the course of the opening ceremony.
Diwali, often known as the Competition of Lights, is seen by observants as a time when gentle conquers darkness and good triumphs over evil. Pupil organizers opened the celebration with prayers (puja) to invoke the blessings of the gods. With lit candles, they held varied prayers for peace (shanti) and well-being (swasti vachan), and led a chant inviting attendees to unite in devotion and bless future pursuits of happiness. Attendees then tied a sacred crimson and yellow thread (raksha) across the wrists of their family and friends members for defense and lengthy life.
The HSA additionally gave out flowers — meant to signify the wonder and purity of the pure world — and LED lighted candles to all DiwaliFest attendees. Attendees prayed for concord in all parts of the universe and pure world.
“We promote a virtuous life with concord and world peace,” stated HSA pupil chief Sanjay Nagaraj ‘25.
Though Diwali is widely known by largely Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains, HSA leaders emphasised that DiwaliFest was open to everybody of all faiths.
“We search world peace and concord between all parts on this world and the knowledge to do good in all that we do,” Akash Shah stated.
The celebration featured dance performances from Divya Nagaraj ’24 and Stanford dance group Basmati Raas. Different college students of HSA performed conventional Indian devices like flute, tabla and sitar.
Within the spirit of unity, Kathak college students from the College of California, Berkeley have been invited to bounce at DiwaliFest. Kathak, which originates from North India, is a dance that “locations emphasis on intricate footwork, complicated hand gestures and facial expressions,” in accordance with the HSA.
Stanford Raagapella, a South Asian Fusion a capella group, additionally carried out in the course of the occasion. Vivek Agrawal ’07, an R&B singer and songwriter, stated he first discovered his love for singing and music as a former member of Raagapella.
“Pursuing music has been a dream of mine since I used to be a Stanford undergrad,” Agrawal stated. “I first carried out right here on Diwali in 2003, 20 years in the past.”
Sruthi Subramanian ’25 and Hiya Shah ’25 attended DiwaliFest collectively and took part in lighting the aarti on the finish of the celebration, a practice which Subramanian stated signifies the triumph of “good over evil and honors the gods and festivities.”
Subramanian expressed gratitude over the HSA’s intensive efforts to host a festive Diwali for everybody.
“It’s undoubtedly a special feeling since you’re extra with mates and group as a substitute of your individual household, however I actually admire the HSA holding this occasion,” Subramanian stated.
Like Subramanian, Hiya Shah additionally usually celebrates Diwali at residence with meals, time with household and mates and a puja. She stated that having the ability to rejoice Diwali on campus made her really feel extra linked to the Stanford group.
“I’ve an entire WhatsApp group chat with my household and so they ship messages comparable to, ‘Could the sunshine of Diwali brighten every day of your life,’” Hiya Shah stated. “It’s extra digitized now, as a result of all of my household may be very far-off, [but] it’s good to be a part of this group on campus and be celebrated indirectly or one other.”