UCD Diwali celebrations
“A festival full of sweet memories, sky full of fireworks, house full of diyas and heart full of enjoyment…”
The most popular of Hindu festivals, the word Diwali means ‘rows of lighted lamps’. Diwali is known as the ‘festival of lights’ because houses, shops and public places are decorated with small earthenware oil lamps called diyas. The festival is celebrated to honour Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. Lord Ganesha is also honoured and prayers are said for a successful year. New ventures are taken upon this day as this is considered an auspicious time to do so. The belief behind lighting the lamps is to help Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, find her way into people’s homes. The legend associated with Diwali talks about the return of Lord Rama and Sita to Rama’s kingdom after defeating the evil king Ravana and fourteen years of being in exile. People of his kingdom lit the pathway with diyas in the joy of his home-coming. In Ireland, as in India, the festival is a time for spring-cleaning the home, wearing new clothes, and exchanging gifts (often sweets and dried fruits) and preparing festive meals.
Following the traditions the UCD IndSoc Diwali commenced with the Diwali puja honoring Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha.
The chief guest for the event was Rita Faria Powell who was the first Indian and Asian to win the Miss World title in the year of 1966. She now resides in Dublin with her husband, endocrinologist David Powell. Listening to her speak and being privileged enough to interact with her, I realised the people who you might expect to be least humble are actually the most. I learnt a lifelong lesson from talking to her — one which will keep me grounded no matter whatever I achieve.
Trailing behind the guest’s speech was some serious fun with the on-the-spot talent show where students danced and sang and which was a good entertainment and source of amusement for the onlookers. IndSoc also had some fireworks in store for the attendees, crackers and glow-sticks! A total fun extravaganza!!!
The highlight of the event (I’m guilty of participating in it!) was the group dance — we danced to Bollywood numbers like Desi Girl and Dilli Walli Girlfriend — and this received lots of hooting and whistling from the crowd!
Before bidding adieu was the time to satiate ourselves… who does not like Taaza Ghar Ka Khana in Vilaayat? Butter-naan and Pulow-rice… Shahi-paneer and Chole-masala to go with them and then a tasty warm Gulab-Jamun with a cold vanilla ice-cream treat! Well, who could ask for more?
My review of the event? It was a remarkable success for a society just a year old! Over 200 people attended the event, and IndSoc committee members mingled with the attendees and asked them for suggestions on improving further for next year. It reminds me of a saying: “good better best, never be at rest till your good is better, and your better best!”
I am sure they will be organising many more successful events and my good wishes are with them!
UCD is ranked as one of the highest universities in the world in the international outlook criteria of both The Times Higher Education Rankings and QS World University Rankings. I realise now why it is so, by encouraging societies like IndSoc on campus UCD is bringing the world to its campus — exposing students to global cultures, and through its international students who remain its lifelong ambassadors it is taking itself to the world — truly Ireland’s global university!!!