My name is Jimeet Romen Shah, I am currently in my second year studying Business and Management Studies (with a professional placement).
Diwali, short for Deepavali, is one of the most popular celebrations in India. It is a closely followed and celebrated holiday for South Asians. It is the festival which represents the return of the Lord Rama to his home state of Ayodhya after fighting the demon Raavana, which essentially celebrates the victory of good over evil.
Hence, it gets its name from the row (avali) of clay lamps (deepa) that Indians light outside their homes to symbolise the inner light that protects from spiritual darkness. The multi-day ‘Festival of Lights’ includes fireworks, food, gifts, coloured sand, and special clay lamps.
During this time of the year, you will find Cities glowing with colourful lights, lanterns, string lights, and ghee lanterns. Diwali lasts for five days, but traditions vary. Preparations begin well in advance; fireworks go on for days afterwards. Temples are especially busy with rituals and religious rites during Diwali. It is an annual galore of festivities celebrating the good in the world.
For me, Diwali holds a very special and important date in the calendar. It was the time of the year when my whole family and relatives used to come together, have a nice meal, talk for hours, meet friends and celebrate with firecrackers, Diwali sweets, and more. It was the time when mum cooked and baked many Diwali special snacks and sweets.
Before celebrating Diwali, we all pray together in our traditional clothes, kids touch their parents’ feet (since it is considered when you touch elders’ feet, you are in-turn blessed with knowledge, intellect and strength), light up the Diya’s (clay lamp), place them in each and every corner of the house and light up the house.
Are you feeling homesick, or afraid that you are going to be alone during Diwali? Join us for our Annual Diwali Festival 2019 on Saturday 2 November.
We at South Asian Student Society (SASS) at University of Sussex aim to involve, increase exposure, and celebrate events promoting the South Asian culture to students from across the globe. We have a Diwali show every year, where students portray their skills and get involved in numerous performances, may it be singing, dancing, fashion Show, and more.
The evening starts with all the performances that take place at the Attenborough Centre for Creative Arts (ACCA), then onto Mandela Hall for a full course Indian buffet dinner, followed by the finale – an after party which takes place at Room 76. We would love to see all of you at one of our biggest festivals on-campus and enjoy the evening with all of us.
Before the big day, we have few other events lined up such as the Henna (Mehendi) and Pani Puri night, Kukur Tihar – Nepalese day of the Dog, Ravana – Bollywood clubbing Night, and more. Do find us on social media, socialize, enjoy all the events, and stay tuned for more. We look forward to meeting all of you.
Finally, I am also a Student Mentor in the Business School. My drop-in times are Wednesdays, 10am-11am, in Jubilee Atrium – come and talk to me about your course, joining societies, being a BAME student, and more. If you can’t make my session, you can speak to another mentor on a different day and at a different time.
Jimeet Romen Shah
Student Mentor and Treasurer of SASS