The Indian American Association will celebrate the Indian New Year Saturday with its annual Diwali celebration.
Diwali, a five-day, widely celebrated Indian festival, symbolizes the victory of good over evil. It is a generally happy time. During Diwali, homes are thoroughly cleaned, and windows are often left open to welcome Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. On the day of the festival, it is tradition to leave lamps lit or lights on throughout the day, which symbolizes knowledge. It also encourages reflection of each individual day of the celebration.
To celebrate the rich cultural and religious aspects of the festival, as well as share them with the university population, the Indian American Association will host a celebration for UT students and staff to attend.
“The purpose of this event is to demonstrate the cultural lifestyles and modern Indian influences that impact us as Indian-Americans in an American society,” said Sheetal Dedania, a senior in microbiology and Spanish.
To achieve this goal, the event’s organizers put together a night of traditional dances, comedy skits, a fashion show and a raffle with various prizes. The event is put on entirely by students. Dedania said this year the Indian American Association teamed up with other universities in the Southeast to add new and exciting performances, including MTSU, Georgia Tech and Mercer.
Indian American Association members expect the 2006 show to be better than other years’ shows have been.
“(Since) this year we have acts from other schools … it will be a different show than previous years,” Dipti Chhajwani, a sophomore in college scholars, said.
The event will be preceded by authentic Indian appetizers. Dedania said the food will consist of somosas, which are vegetables in a fried pastry, and pakoras, which are batter-dipped and fried vegetables. There will also be chips, dip and cake. Two Indian restaurants, Sitar and Kashmir, will be catering the event. Chhajwani said there will also be food cooked by participants’ mothers.
Proceeds from the event will go in part to funding Indian American Association activities, but that is not all.
“A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Plan USA to help sponsor a child named Prabhu in India,” Dedania said. Funds will go to providing basic needs for the child and to improving the level of opportunity in his community.
This year’s Diwali celebration will be held Oct. 28 in the Clarence Brown Theatre. The Indian American Association will provide appetizers at 6 p.m. The show is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Tickets will only be available at the door. Prices are $5 for students, faculty and staff and $10 for the public.
Diwali is co-sponsored by the International House and the Cultural Attractions Committee. For more information, visit the Indian American Association Web site, http://web.utk.edu/~iaa.