Diwali: Millsaps Celebrates the Hindu New Year


by Courtney Cleveland

features editor

Millsaps Masala, an organization on campus that promotes south Asian culture through dance, music and religion, prepared a special treat for campus Friday, November 11. Several students and special guests put on a program in honor of Diwali, India’s most important holiday of the year, that included dance numbers, playing musical instruments and singing. Attendants also enjoyed several Indian dishes before the show. Traditionally, Diwali is celebrated for five days.

National Geographic describes the first day as one when people clean their homes and shop for kitchen utensils and gold. On the second day, they decorate their homes with lamps made of clay and create designs on the floor with sand or colored powders. The third day, also called Lakshmi puja, is the main day of Diwali. Families father and pray to Goddess Lakshmi and celebrate with feasts and fireworks. The fourth day marks the first day of the new year and families gather with best wishes and gifts. The final day is when brothers pay a visit to their married sisters.

Shivangi Patel, a freshman biochemistry major, explained the importance of Diwali. “On Diwali day, families get together and perform rituals to keep evil out of their lives, and it’s also a start to Hindu New Years,” Patel said. “Diwali is important to me because I get to spend time with my family, get to dress up in my traditional clothes, and get to celebrate the New Years.”

Students who participated believed that the show was a major success due to the time and dedication that they each put in it.

“We started practicing once a week around the fourth week of school, but as Diwali came closer, we had practices two or three times a week. We sometimes had late night practices for about three hours,” Patel said. “On the week of Diwali, we had two grand practices where we ran through the whole show from top to bottom so we would know what to do when show time came.”

Jordan Caldwell, a freshman pre-medical major, was thoroughly pleased with the Diwali presentation after the weeks of hard work. Caldwell danced and participated in the fashion show. “…There was a lot of detailed tweaking to the choreography to make sure the dance was just right. I feel like the outcome of the performance was great,” Caldwell said.