Kent Indian Association hosts Diwali festival


FILE: Dancers perform at the Diwali celebration in the Kent Student Center Ballroom on Nov. 5, 2016. Diwali is the Hindu festival of lights that’s celebrated every year in autumn.

Anna Smith

The Kent Indian Association held their Diwali celebration Sunday evening in the Student Center Ballroom, open for students and faculty of any background to take part in the “Festival of Lights.”

Diwali is a five-day festival celebrated every autumn apart of Indian and Central Asian history, according to There are many stories linked to the origins of Diwali, however all interpretations lead to the same ideal of the triumph of good over evil. This year, Diwali started Nov. 7.

To kick off the event, the Kent Indian Association played a video for the audience explaining one of the most popular origin stories of Diwali.

“We have many varieties of our Indian culture being presented,” Ritu Phogat, president of Kent Indian Association and graduate computer science student, said. “We having singing performances and dances of different styles.”

Throughout the night, singers and dancers came to the stage to perform an assortment of dances and songs. Other performances throughout the celebration included a male and female Indian fashion show and a game that involved the audience.

The festival also included a buffet with Indian food and the opportunity to get a free henna tattoo.

“It’s good to portray our culture so that they learn something about us and we learn something about them,” Phogat said.

Many attendees of the event had never been to a Diwali celebration before.

“I have a friend who is from India, and she told me about it,” Pippa Best, a senior special education major in attendance, said. “I’ve been to India before on a mission trip, so I was interested.”

“We met some (Indian students) yesterday and they said, ‘come on over (to Diwali),’” Aleesia McKinney, a freshman English major attending the festival, said. “We can learn from our differences and from the similar things about us.”

Others who have experienced Diwali before emphasized the importance the festival holds for Kent’s campus and what it means to the community members who celebrate it.

“The event is really important because it has significant value in Indian lives,” Dhanshree Pachorkar, graduate student and clinical nutrition major, said. “People come together and celebrate the festivals, and (then they) leave sorrow behind and enjoy (their) happiness to the fullest.”

Anna Smith is a general assignment reporter. Contact her at [email protected].