Every year, dozens of Trinity students participate in Diwali, the festival of lights. It is celebrated every year in autumn in the northern hemisphere with numerous festivities, such as dancing, fireworks and feasting. Diwali is an important religious celebration that is commemorated all over the world and Trinity students conveyed the story of Diwali and its importance through their performances.
“We decided to tell the story of Diwali this year not just to educate the audience on the religious backing of Diwali but also to teach the lessons that we learn from our religion,” said Pooja Bollampally, a senior Chemistry major and president of the Indian Student Association. “We hope that the audience was not only entertained by the performances and the show but was also inspired by the morals of our story.”
As president of Trinity’s Indian Student Association (ISA), Bollampally was in charge of coordinating the different parts of Holi in the spring and Diwali this fall, ensuring that everything ran smoothly. She participated in the dancing as well.
“My main goals for the show was to bring a diverse group of students together and encourage them to step out of their comfort zone and embrace this festive culture as well as put together a cohesive, entertaining, but also educational show,” Bollampally said.
ISA seeks to include students of all cultural backgrounds in their celebrations to create a greater sense of unity between students.
“The fact that students themselves can put on this celebration with our own initiative and passions shows how Trinity embraces diversity and celebrates that not everyone is the same,” Bollampally said.
Bollampally has participated in Diwali all four of her years at Trinity and has gained a lot from her experiences as a dancer and choreographer.
“[Diwali and Holi] really embody the festive nature of the Indian culture and give diverse students an opportunity to experience and participate in these festivals and celebrations that were so instrumental to the childhood of the students who identify as Indian,” Bollampally said.
Students of diverse cultural backgrounds and various student organizations participated in Diwali. The event, which took place last Saturday in Laurie Auditorium, featured musical performances and dances separated by skits that told the story of Diwali.
“The most rewarding part [of Diwali] was hearing from friends who to came to watch that they loved the show. It is gratifying to know that all the hard work you put in has a positive end result. It is also extremely rewarding to expose the real story behind Diwali to those who attended,” said Shivani Desai, a sophomore biochemistry and molecular biology major and Logistics Chair for ISA.
Participants started preparing for their Diwali performances several weeks in advance, starting in September. They worked tirelessly all throughout September and October to make the show a reality.
“The most difficult part of the process would be the amount of time we expended in planning the show. The process itself was a lot of fun because I planned with friends but getting myself to distance myself from school work took a deal of not panicking,” Desai said.
Several students got the opportunity choreograph their own dances. The dancers had a range of experience levels but were all grateful for the opportunity to participate in the show.
“It’s my second time choreographing specifically for Diwali, I jumped at the opportunity to do it my freshman year and I loved it so much I wanted to do it again,” said Sneh Lalani, a sophomore psychology major.
Each of the dances and songs had a specific theme that the composers and choreographers had to work with while creating them. The themes included determination, betrayal, jealousy, triumph and celebration.
“I feel the toughest part is probably getting comfortable with your dancers; sometimes I’m worried I’m being really picky with them when they’re doing something wrong. But once that comfort barrier is broken, it’s honestly a great experience,” Lalani said.
Hundreds of students went to see the show and support their friends. Afterwards, everyone got to enjoy free Indian food.
“The world is so diverse and opening up and seeing all that it has to offers makes it more easier to make lasting memories. If you participate you create closer bonds with your fellow dancers and captains and have fun. If you attend you get to see your friends dance and cheer them on,” Desai said.
ISA is grateful for all those who came to Diwali and participated in the show. They look forward to hosting Holi, the festival of color, next semester. More information and photographs from these events can be found on the iFacebook page.