The sights, sounds, and tastes of India were brought to UCOL last week as the institution played host to its first ever Diwali festival.
Diwali is the Hindu festival of light. It signifies the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair.
Approximately 150 students, staff, and members of the public gathered in the UCOL Atrium to share in the festivities.
The festival included classical and modern Indian song and dance performances from UCOL students and members of Palmerston North’s Indian community.
The Atrium was lit with tea lights placed in traditional ceramic pots and decorated with rangoli, a form of art created with coloured rice and flour. Rangoli is traditionally placed in front of houses as a welcome and to bring good luck.
Attendees were treated to a range Indian foods including samosas, curry and sweets.
The UCOL-hosted event was a joint effort by UCOL staff, students, and members of Palmerston North’s Indian community, many of whom were colourfully dressed in Indian attire.
Bachelor of Applied Science (Medical Imaging Technology) student Shreya Gupta acted as emcee for the night. She said it meant a lot to her for UCOL to open its doors to the Indian community for Diwali.
“I’ve been away from my family for seven years, and I’m usually working or studying so I don’t normally get to do much for Diwali. UCOL has been my family for the past few years, so it’s great to celebrate Diwali with my new family”.
“It really means a lot to the Indian community. A lot of our families in India send us photos of them celebrating Diwali, and it looks like they have so much fun. This year we’ll be able to send them photos.”
Master of Design student Anirudh Cheruvu, who had made the final five for the Indian talent show Idea Rocks India, performed a number of Bollywood songs. The Hyderabad native said he was pleased to be able to share his culture.
“It’s great that a lot of New Zealanders get to learn the culture. Dance and music are a language in themselves, and it’s great that New Zealanders can be exposed to our diverse range of music.”