Carleton College's student newspaper since 1877

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

MOSAIC celebrates Diwali with songs, dance, and dal


Mosaic of South Asian Interests at Carleton (MOSAIC) hosted a celebration of Diwali, a festival celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and some Buddhists, in the Great Hall on Saturday, November 6.

Over 200 students attended the festival, which was organized by MOSAIC Board members Eesha Shah ‘22, Nina Kaushikkar ‘22, and Hana Horiuchi ‘23 in collaboration with the Chaplain’s Office. The Board members kicked off the program with an introduction to the history of Diwali, which commemorates the return of Lord Rama, the seventh avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu, to Ayodhya.

Dr. Anantanand Rambachan, a professor of religion at St. Olaf College, performed a bhajan (spiritual song) and then spoke about the concept of truth in Hindu faith and contemporary society. Students described how they observe Diwali in their families and cultures. The program ended with Bollywood and Bhangra dance performances.

“Nina and Eesha choreographed the dances,” said Shreya Nair ‘24. “There were rehearsals every Tuesday and Thursday this term. The Bhangra and Bollywood dancing was reminiscent of festivities that would take place when we celebrated at home.”

Dinner, arranged by the Chaplain’s Office, was catered from House of Curry. Attendees enjoyed spinach dal, rice, godhamba roti, gobi manchurian, and chicken kottu.

Before the official program commenced at 5:30 p.m., MOSAIC members held a puja, or prayer, in the Great Hall. MOSAIC chose to have the religious service for the puja take place before the program because, according to Shah, it “allowed for a smaller group of people who wanted to participate to be able to do so without an audience.” Shad added that this level of privacy made the puja feel more authentic.

Sriya Konda ‘24, a member of MOSAIC, noted that her personal highlights included “seeing my fellow South Asian friends dressed up in traditional wear, eating traditional food, dancing, and recreating that feeling of home.” She added, “It’s also nice seeing my non-South Asian friends embracing that culture.”

“The end product was much better than any of us could have imagined,” says Aniketh Vipparla ‘24. “The seniors [on the Board] are compsing right now, but they still put time towards making this festival extraordinary.”

Shaheer Jaffar ‘24, a Muslim international student from Pakistan and thus “a minority in MOSAIC,” added that “it’s a very religious tradition, but I never felt left out. For that I give credit to the Board members—Eesha, Hana, and Nina—and my friends for making sure it’s not just a Hindu celebration, it’s a South Asian celebration.”

Next term, the Board will collaborate with Jewish Students of Carleton (JSC) and the Chaplain’s Office to plan a Holi Purim celebration. The calendar for Spring term will include the Buddhist holiday Vesak Day, South Asia Night, and an outdoor celebration of Holi.

Although MOSAIC meets weekly to drink chai, discuss upcoming events, and relax, celebrations such as Diwali are especially important. “The club always feels closer right after a big event like this one,” said Shah, “because it is clearly a space for South Asians, and when it is done well it feels really exciting for all of us.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Carletonian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *