The Hood College community goes beyond just academics – we love to celebrate our students, our diversity, and give everyone a chance to share their culture and explore others. Hood students from India and Nepal recently organized a celebration of Diwali, the festival of light celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains across the globe. The holiday, which coincides with Hindu New Year, is a celebration of new beginnings and the triumph of light over darkness.
At Hood, we are proud of our diverse student body, and thrilled that students were able to plan and organize this celebration. It was important to our organizers that the people who attended were both those who normally celebrate Diwali and people from many other cultures. As Elyas Abubakr, Hood’s Primary Designated School Officer and one of the organizers, explained “It gave us an opportunity to tell [international] students we value your presence here and we appreciate you as part of the Hood community. You have a family here. The Hood community is your home away from home. It [also] drew a new bridge between domestic and international students at Hood College.”
The celebration featured traditional rass-garba dance, madal drum performances, live music, rangoli paintings, and Indian food. Rangoli paintings are traditional artwork done for Hindu holidays and festivals, featuring symbolic shapes and curved lines. For our celebration, attendees created images on campus walkways using chalk. Inside, both experienced dancers and people learning these dances for the first time had a great time! Experience some of the music and dance in this clip! You will see student Chiranjibi Ghimire playing the traditional madal drums. As a celebrant, organizer, and a performer, Chiranjibi is one of those for whom this event was both supportive and personal. As he explains, “The Diwali celebration is the one of the way we can maintain our home culture and introduce our different culture to an American friends and community. Obviously, international students are very happy and pleased to the Hood College to helping and sponsoring events like Diwali.” We can’t wait for next year!