Diwali lights up Saturday night


The India Association of Tulane University hosted a Diwali celebration Saturday night at Pontchartrain Landing.

Ishan Patel, Staff Reporter

The brightest week of the South Asian calendar has dawned on Tulane. With New Orleans as a backdrop, Tulane students added their own Green Wave style dazzle to throw one of the biggest bashes of the year.

Diwali is a joyous five-day holiday celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains celebrating the victory of good over evil. The festival is marked by lighting diyas (a small handheld lamp), fireworks, feasting and dancing. The India Association uses the holiday as an opportunity to celebrate Indian culture while making festivities accessible for Tulane and New Orleans communities. This year, the celebration took place at Pontchartrain Landing, moving off Tulane’s campus for the very first time. 

“We usually hold the Diwali event in McAlister Auditorium, but this is the first year we’re having it off-campus,” IATU secretary Adhira Divagaran said.   

Pontchartrain Landing proved to be a prime venue for the event. The hall was situated on a beautiful waterfront.  It also had its own dance floor, creating a space for attendees to dance and mingle together, something that wasn’t possible in McAlister Auditorium. Based on this year’s substantial turnout, the change of venue was a wise choice. 

This year’s Diwali event also featured more performances than last year’s event, with a total of 10 acts, including Bollywood and traditional Indian dances, hip-hop performances, an orchestral trio, and a few vocal performances.  

“We began preparing for our dances early on and held practice every week,” IATU treasurer Dinika Singh, who performed in three dances, said. 

The hard work put in by all of the performers definitely paid off, and each performance was incredibly unique. Ehsaas, the Bollywood fusion dance team at LSU, was a special treat, putting a very modern spin on Bollywood dance.The orchestral trio also did a flawless job playing the Bollywood song, “Zoobie Doobie,” on strings and saxophone.

After the performances, the dance floor opened for everyone and the food was served. Diyas hand-made by Divagaran were lit throughout the venue and contributed greatly to the traditional and elegant look of the party. Dinner was excellent and authentic as well, consisting of Indian-style garbanzo beans, chicken tikka masala, onion fritters, vegetable pulav and more.  

“I just want everyone who comes out to Diwali to experience and appreciate Indian culture, and learn more about it,” Divagaran said. 

After the success of the Diwali semi-formal event, the India Association promises to host a number of cultural events for the Tulane community. These include Holi, the festival of colors, Masala, a semi-formal event, and Bollywood Zumba among others. Those who enjoyed Diwali and want to learn more about Indian culture can look forward to an expanding Indian cultural presence on campus following the success of Diwali.  

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