In the bustle of girls in beautifully colored, traditional, Indian clothing, shawls waving behind them as they walked and embellishments jingling as they moved, and men in their finest Sherwani running to and from the stage, it was difficult to not be visually stimulated. The air was sweet with incense and the smell of Indian food. The powerful drums bumping in the background showcased the efforts taken to produce a celebration for Diwali 2012.
The Indian Festival of Lights was held in the Glenn Miller Ballroom on Saturday, recognizing the holiday that celebrates good over evil. Put on by the Indian Student Association (ISA), the festival fell on the lunar day of the new moon, signifying the beginning of the Hindu New Year. Over a five day period, the festival is commemorated through various events, like setting off firecrackers to ward off negative energy and spirits.
As the crowd settled into the ballroom, the show began with a prayer sung by a student member of the ISA. This was the only time the crowd remained quiet, as the rest of the night’s performances had audience members riled up, clapping along to the rhythms, cheering and calling out at favorite parts in the show.
“I enjoyed the dance, the music, but the atmosphere as a whole is what I enjoyed the most,” said freshman Khaled Aldhafiri, an exchange student from Saudi Arabia.
After a multitude dance numbers from different regions, like Garba, 90’s and current music mashups and Bhangra, the event’s energy went down a notch. This was due to a performance of Raga through a combination of Tabla drums, Sitar and, in this particular performance, a piano. The audience rooted for the performance and encouraged the cheerful tunes to keep playing with cheers and claps.
The significance of the performances was not lost on even the freshest newcomers to Diwali celebrations.
“There was a lot of energy and excitement,” said sophomore Mitch May. “I’d never even heard of Diwali before this, and now I wonder what other cultural events I’m missing out on.”
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A fashion show that displayed a darker tone to the Indian traditional clothing through a multitude of black garments with unique accents of gold. Later, a band rocked out to Indian ballads as the whole audience sang along.
“Indians always have something interesting to offer, and I heard this one was well-prepared for, so I had to give it a try,” Aldhafiri said. “I’m glad I did.”
The enormous spread of traditional Indian food was served after the closing performances, which included the national anthems of the United States and India. DJ Ashish B., who has been called the No. 1 Indian DJ in North America, played until midnight, carrying out the celebration with good music, food and company.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Megan Curry at Megan.firstname.lastname@example.org