group in building

Groups light up campus with festive and colorful Diwali celebration

With candles, color and food, campus celebrates Diwali.

Traditional feasting. Henna tattoos. Sari tying. The creation of beautiful floor art painted in colorful powders, or
. Those were just a few of the activities that helped light up a beautiful campus celebration of Diwali, the Hindu “Festival of Lights” holiday.

group drawing chalk art

Attendees at a recent Diwali festival celebration on campus decorated the ground outside Fish Interfaith Center with traditional images, created with colorful powders. (Photo/Da Zhang)

Sponsored by the
Chapman University Program Board
, the
Fish Interfaith Center
and the
Department of Religious Studies
, the celebration was designed to help students understand and appreciate the festival that marks the triumph of good over evil.

For Danielle Platt ’17, an environmental science and policy major, the entire festival was eye-opening.

“I really appreciated being introduced to a culture I’d never known about before,” said Platt, as she sampled the traditional Indian food.

group of students around table

Students enjoy a traditional feast of Indian food as part of a recent Diwali celebration. (Photo/Sohini Mukherjee ’16)

Her sentiments were echoed by Anika Murarka ’18, a communications major, who, although familiar with Diwali, wanted to see how it would be represented at Chapman.

“It was a learning experience,” said Murarka, “and it increased my knowledge of the culture I grew up in.”

Those were exactly the sort of reactions desired by Mugdha Yeolekar, an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Religious Studies. Yeolekar led the event with a presentation about the significance of Diwali as a festival marking the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness.

“It represents and epitomizes Indian culture,” said Yeolekar. “And it is important to take that abroad, especially at events like these that are so flexible and welcoming to everyone, regardless of their religion.”

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