UGA students celebrate Diwali with family and friends in the Tate Student Center in Athens, Georgia on Friday, Nov. 8, 2019. UGA’s Indian Student Association hosted the night of dancing, food, and lights. (Photo/Taylor Gerlach)

Two organizations celebrated the Indian festival of lights, Diwali with one  celebration hosted by The Indian Student Association (ISA) on Friday, Nov. 8 and Diwali Mela hosted the following Sunday. 

On Nov. 10 at 6 p.m., the Indian Cultural Exchange hosted Diwali Mela 2019 in the Tate Grand Hall. This is the second annual festival that has been held in honor of the holiday. 

Diwali is a New Year’s festival and a celebration of spiritual victory for Southeast Asian cultures, and the event gave students the chance to engage in tradition, according to Anu Manne, a culture chairman for ICE.

“It is a time where everyone can come together and enjoy one another during this festival,” Manne said. 

Both the decorations and food represented the various cultures and dishes of the different places in India where Diwali is celebrated.

“The food is probably my favorite part because in college you try to go for the easy things to eat but this is one time where you get to eat Indian food,” said Shree Desai, an executive board member of ICE. “Some people who go to this school don’t live here and their family is hours away so it’s cool to see your friends and enjoy this festival.”

An array of performances by organizations such as South Asian dance teams included fusion dance teams, a capella groups and classical groups who provided the entertainment for the evening. 

There were also a series of stalls where attendees could participate in activities such as diya painting, henna and play Indian games.

ICE is a South Asian based organization focusing on spreading awareness of Indian culture throughout campus and introducing people to the traditions and celebrations. It also provides a place for familiarity to South Asian students.

“It’s a place to be a home away from home,” said Akshara Punyarthi, a culture chairman for ICE. “We have so many people who don’t live near here so it is a way they can engage in their traditions and culture.”

Correction: In a previous version of this article, The Red & Black incorrectly used photos from Diwali Night on Nov. 8, hosted by the Indian Student Association, instead of Diwali Mela on Nov. 10, hosted by the Indian Cultural Exchange. The Red & Black regrets this error. The Red & Black regrets this error, and it has since been changed.

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(1) comment


First off this article is incorrectly titled. 'Diwali Mela' and 'Diwali Night' were two different events organized by two separate organizations on campus that were on two different days.

The photos you've included in this article are all from the Diwali Night (Nov 8th) which was organized by The Indian Student Association (ISA). All of the quotes and experiences that you have written in this article are from Diwali Mela (Nov 10th) which was organized by the Indian Cultural Exchange.

Please clearly differentiate the two events and give proper credit to the respective organizations instead of merging the two into one 'thing'. This article has not been correctly reported.

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