The Stanford Hindu College students Affiliation (HSA) hosted their annual DiwaliFest in Memorial Church (MemChu) Sunday, attracting a big congregation of all ages as attendees stuffed almost each pew within the church.
“We wish to take just a few moments to rejoice and take away all of the darkness from our lives and this world. We wish to carry gentle into our communities,” stated HSA scholar chief Akash Shah ’26 in the course of the opening ceremony.
Diwali, often known as the Pageant of Lights, is seen by observants as a time when gentle conquers darkness and good triumphs over evil. Scholar organizers opened the celebration with prayers (puja) to invoke the blessings of the gods. With lit candles, they held varied prayers for peace (shanti) and well-being (swasti vachan), and led a chant inviting attendees to unite in devotion and bless future pursuits of happiness. Attendees then tied a sacred crimson and yellow thread (raksha) across the wrists of their family and friends members for defense and lengthy life.
The HSA additionally gave out flowers — meant to signify the sweetness and purity of the pure world — and LED lighted candles to all DiwaliFest attendees. Attendees prayed for concord in all components of the universe and pure world.
“We promote a virtuous life with concord and international peace,” stated HSA scholar chief Sanjay Nagaraj ‘25.
Though Diwali is widely known by principally Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains, HSA leaders emphasised that DiwaliFest was open to everybody of all faiths.
“We search world peace and concord between all components on this world and the knowledge to do good in all that we do,” Akash Shah stated.
The celebration featured dance performances from Divya Nagaraj ’24 and Stanford dance group Basmati Raas. Different college students of HSA performed conventional Indian devices like flute, tabla and sitar.
Within the spirit of unity, Kathak college students from the College of California, Berkeley have been invited to bop at DiwaliFest. Kathak, which originates from North India, is a dance that “locations emphasis on intricate footwork, advanced hand gestures and facial expressions,” in response to the HSA.
Stanford Raagapella, a South Asian Fusion a capella group, additionally carried out in the course of the occasion. Vivek Agrawal ’07, an R&B singer and songwriter, stated he first discovered his love for singing and music as a former member of Raagapella.
“Pursuing music has been a dream of mine since I used to be a Stanford undergrad,” Agrawal stated. “I first carried out right here on Diwali in 2003, 20 years in the past.”
Sruthi Subramanian ’25 and Hiya Shah ’25 attended DiwaliFest collectively and took part in lighting the aarti on the finish of the celebration, a convention which Subramanian stated signifies the triumph of “good over evil and honors the gods and festivities.”
Subramanian expressed gratitude over the HSA’s in depth efforts to host a festive Diwali for everybody.
“It’s positively a distinct feeling since you’re extra with pals and group as a substitute of your personal household, however I actually admire the HSA holding this occasion,” Subramanian stated.
Like Subramanian, Hiya Shah additionally usually celebrates Diwali at dwelling with meals, time with household and pals and a puja. She stated that having the ability to rejoice Diwali on campus made her really feel extra linked to the Stanford group.
“I’ve an entire WhatsApp group chat with my household they usually ship messages similar to, ‘Might the sunshine of Diwali brighten every day of your life,’” Hiya Shah stated. “It’s extra digitized now, as a result of all of my household could be very distant, [but] it’s good to be a part of this group on campus and be celebrated in a roundabout way or one other.”