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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Diwali Night Illuminates Culture on Campus

Photo by Forster Goodrich
Diwali was hosted in the Alumni Memorial Union ballrooms.

Students and organizations across campus gathered to “light up the night” and celebrate Diwali Night — Festival of Lights — at Marquette’s Alumni Memorial Union Saturday, Oct. 15. Different ways of celebrating included henna, a photo booth, dance performances, a DJ and food. 

The Indian Student Association, We are SAATH— “we are together” — Milwaukee and Marquette’s Bhangra Academy were some of the communities that attended and participated in this event coordinated by Late Night Marquette. 

Diwali is an Indian festival of lights, usually celebrated by the lighting of candles or tealights and the releasing of fireworks or sparklers. It occurs annually every year, where the exact dates change based on the position of the moon. It is viewed as a night of good over evil, and a time where family and friends gather and celebrate. It occurs over a span of five days in India, but in certain places only the main festival day is celebrated. 

Navneet Kaur, a senior in the College of Health Sciences and president of Marquette’s Bhangra Academy, said that it is a chance for different communities on campus to see how Indian culture celebrates their holidays. She also said it is a platform for different religions such as Hindus or Sikhs to come together and connect about why they celebrate Diwali. 

“Back in India, it is the only festival where all religions in Indian culture come together as one and celebrate with their own importance, ” Kaur said. 

To Kaur, a big part of this event is just coming together and sharing in celebration, enjoying food, lighting lots of candles, or diyas that signify light over darkness. Kaur added that being a part of this event includes her Sikh community, culture and beliefs in the broader community, which is really important to her. 

Kina Patel, a first-year in the College of Health Sciences, Bollywood fusion performer and member of ISA, said that Diwali Night was for anyone, not just those who are of Hindu background. 

“This is a function where literally anyone is welcome. They come, eat good food and watch us dance. It brings everyone together, which is kind of the whole point of Diwali, to be together,” Patel said.  

Leena Shah, a junior in the College of Education and vice president of ISA, also expressed similar thoughts. Shah said events like these are great opportunities for anyone to join in on the fun while solidifying culture, heritage and remembering where we came from. Shah mentioned that Saturday was also an event intended to attract more attention and shine a light on the culture here at Marquette while simultaneously celebrating Diwali.

“I think the Indian community here at Marquette is underrepresented in general because there are not a whole lot of us that go here, so I think having this event is a really cool way for people to see what we are all about and showcase our culture,” Shah said.

She also added her favorite part was having a DJ come where everyone gets to dance and enjoy the night.  Everyone gathers on the dance floor towards the end, and everyone is just enjoying the moment and appreciating the culture, She said. 

“A lot of our culture is celebrated through music and dancing, so it’s fun seeing everyone being able to participate in that,” Shah said.

Patel also said that as a performer, it feels good to be dancing in such a lively atmosphere and environment and that it connects her to her culture back home. 

“My family was super festive growing up, and it is really nice to have that continue here on campus. Marquette allowing us to have nights like this to celebrate our culture and being open about it makes students like me feel a part of a community,” Patel said.

Thanks to ISA, students on campus were able to experience culture and community at Diwali Night. 

Shah said not to worry if you could not attend this event, because next semester ISA is also hosting a cultural showcase where different dance groups, such as MUBA, perform. 

This story was written by Trinity Zapotocky. She can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Trinity Zapotocky
Trinity Zapotocky, Assistant News Editor
Trinity Zapotocky is a sophomore studying Communications and Marketing. She is from Naperville, Illinois and is currently the Assistant News Editor for the Marquette Wire. In her free time she enjoys reading, watching Gilmore Girls, going to the gym, and trying new coffee spots. Trinity is excited to cover important news and grow at the Wire this year.
Forster Goodrich
Forster Goodrich, Staff Photographer
Forster Goodrich is a sophomore from Lyme, New Hampshire studying digital media. Forster works on the photography desk as a Staff Photographer. Outside of the Wire, he is on the club waterski team, and enjoys everything outdoors. He is looking forward to the upcoming basketball season and getting to photograph games at Fiserv Forum.

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