Diwali lights up Tulane

Taylor DeMulling, Associate Arcade Editor

The India Association of Tulane is bringing a whole new level to “it’s lit.” IATU will be hosting a Diwali celebration 6 p.m. Saturday at Pontchartrain Landing.

Diwali, also known as Deepavali, is the festival of lights celebrated widely across India. The five-day celebration also marks the start of the new financial year, with particular care given to recognize Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity and wealth. Diwali is celebrated by many different religions, including Hindus, Jains and Sikhs, and while it has various meanings to each group, at its core it is a celebration of good triumphing over evil.

“Basically, what we’re praying for is … letting light in and letting all the darkness go away,” freshman Sejal Agrawal, a representative for IATU, said. “[We are] trying to clean for the New Year.”

Light and dark are huge symbols for Diwali, which translates to “Row of Lights,” and is often distinguished by the lamps and lights used to decorate.

IATU’s celebration will light up the lives of attendees with an Indian dinner, dance, A Capella performances, Bollywood music and dancing. To sweeten the deal, the event is free of charge and transportation will be provided.

Tulane University Ladies A Capella will perform, as well as Tulane Jazbaa Bollywood Dance Team, Dat Dance Crew, the Central City Dance Team and more. The broader span of performances has expanded IATU’s Diwali celebration from past years.

“I think we’re branching out a little bit more in terms of who’s coming to perform, so instead of just having the officer board from IATU and just having one or two other performances, we’re doing performances from not just Indian-related groups,” Agrawal said.

Holding the event off campus was a decision made in response to the large turnout at CultureSHOCK, an event IATU held earlier in the year to introduce students to the club and its culture. Upping the ante with this year’s celebration was also spurred by the growth of Diwali celebrations on other college campuses nationwide.

“We’re following the lead of lots of other colleges like the UCs in California, Emory, Purdue, Brown, Boston University, all of them do this,” Agrawal said. “So we were just trying to follow that and boost it up to the next level.”

The event is semiformal, so guests should dress nicely, in a dress or dressier pants and shirt, though they need not get too formal. Students with Indian clothing are encouraged to wear it as well.

To reserve tickets, visit one of the tabling sessions from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday or from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday outside the Lavin-Bernick Center. IATU’s Diwali celebration is a fun and free way to explore another culture or embrace one’s own, and the performances and food are sure to make for a de-light-ful event.

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