Last Saturday, students celebrated Diwali, the vibrant Indian festival of lights, with free food and dance. The Hindu Student Union and Asian Sub-Continental Association partnered to host Trinity’s annual Diwali celebration. The event featured seven dances performed and choreographed by students.

“Each dance is from a different region of India, the song they are dancing to is from a different region of India; it’s a whole storyline of us traveling through India,” said Navid Leelani, senior and former officer of ASA.

New this year was a storyline with acting between each dance. In earlier years, two students would host the event and speak between the dances.

Diwali holds high significance in Indian culture due to the country’s strong connection between Hinduism and national culture. Lining streets with little lights like lanterns signifies the victory of light over darkness, which is why Diwali is called the festival of lights. The celebration is widespread in India with variations among the many regions.

“It’s a really big part of our culture and our religion. India is very religiously oriented and everything religious is tied into our culture, so Diwali is an important event for us,” said sophomore Pooja Bollampally, secretary of ASA. “Diwali signifies the return of one of our gods, Ram, from exile from his kingdom. He was exiled for 13 years; that included him and his wife and his brother. The celebration of Diwali is the celebration of their return back to their kingdom.”

Students expressed their appreciation of diversity at Trinity and the importance of celebrating and learning about many different cultures and religions represented on campus.

“I’m glad Trinity has shows such as Diwali, since it allows our campus not only to have cultural diversity but also allows students to learn more about other cultures, especially since anyone can perform in the shows and they are free to attend,” said junior Ana Ruiz, a Diwali performer. “Shows such as Diwali define Trinity in that people from different backgrounds can learn and celebrate different cultures and religions.”

Junior Sana Quadri who choreographed for and danced in Diwali added, “I feel that Trinity has a very diverse student population and it is important to learn about the different cultures present throughout the student body. I have also had the opportunity to watch/perform in other cultural performances that Trinity has, such as Mabuhay and Lunar New Year, and have had the opportunity to learn so much about the different cultures.”