Piece written by undergraduate and South Asian Studies Minor Priya Chatwani
Diwali or Deepwali is an auspicious “festival of lights” celebrated throughout India and the world. This holiday, which coincides with the start of the Hindu New Year, celebrates good over evil as well as Lord Rama’s long-awaited arrival after saving his wife Sita from the demon Ravana. This year, the holiday fell on Thursday, October 19th, and Stanford students hosted a Diwali celebration in White Plaza the following Saturday evening.
However, on the Thursday morning of Diwali, a spontaneous celebration broke out in the middle of Main Quad. Students in the first introductory class to Hindi met at 10:30am just like every weekday, but instead of reviewing the homework, they drank chai and munched on samosas, burfis, and other snacks brought by Professor Sonia Taneja. The class subsequently took a trip outside where they made designs on the ground using Rangoli, or colored powder. The colorful designs in front of Memorial Church inspired the class to ramp up their celebrations and ignited an impromptu flash mob. Malaika Koshy, a fellow student, described the event that followed as, “A small Diwali celebration … that turned into a fun Bollywood Zumba session when Divya, Priya, and I messaged the Indian groups we know to come out and join us.” Malaika also mentioned that the students decided to dance during the informal passing period between classes ending and starting “so that the rush of students biking by (and the tourists) could see our enthusiasm and hype for such a fun Hindu celebration of light!”
Check out a video of the flash mob here: