On Saturday, October 26th, the Recreation Center at Johns Hopkins University transformed into a glistening, brightly lit, colorful venue for the annual Diwali Dhamaka celebrations.
The event, held on parents weekend every year, invites students, staff, and families to enjoy a night of festivities replete with a catered Indian dinner, music, and dance. Throughout the night, guests were invited to try traditional Desi tea – chai, color clay diyas, and decorate their hands with mehndi.
Furthermore, HSC created a picture-poster series adorning the walls throughout the venue, allowing for people to learn about the Ramayana and its significance to Diwali. The theme of the poster series was the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, and this was artistically conveyed to those in attendance. Dinner included vegetable korma, chana masala, and gulab jamun.
After dinner, JHU’s Diwali Dhamaka began with an aarti. Hundreds of people participated, surrounding a table of deities in the middle of the rec center. Once everyone had a chance to pray, there was prasad in the form of laddu. The night then followed with performances by student groups.
The performances included Bhangra, Bollywood fusion dance, Bharatanatyam and Bollywood fusion acapella, all of which are among some of the favorite student groups on campus. Many of the teams explained the symbolic meaning behind their performances, with the Bharatanatyam team depicting a scene from the Mahabharata, for example. These performances offer a more formal way of friends to dance together and offer a chance for classes to bond.
For the first time, Hindu Students Council personally invited the President of the University, Ronald Daniels, to the event, and he was in attendance with his wife, enjoying all that JHU Diwali had to offer.
Ultimately, the goal of JHU HSC’s Diwali is to share Hindu Dharma with members of the local community in order to make some select Hindu traditions fun and accessible to all.
Written by Vedika Karandikar and edited by Sindhu Banerjee. Vedika is a junior at Johns Hopkins University. She serves on the JHU HSC board. Sindhu is a senior at Johns Hopkins University and fellow board member at JHU HSC.
For more information about JHU HSC, you can visit their Facebook page here.