William Smith junior Suprita Kudesia, of New Delhi, India, led a ceremony to celebrate Diwali, the Indian festival of lights, Nov. 12. The story draws from the epic poem Ramayana, which details the return of Prince Rama, who — along with his wife, Sita, and younger brother, Lakshman — was exiled to the forest for 14 years. The celebration was featured in the Nov. 14 Finger Lakes Times article “Good vs. evil — India style: Festival celebrated at Colleges.”
“In part, Diwali is a celebration of their return [from exile],” Kudesia said, adding that Rama's subjects decorated the streets with lights and candles to welcome back their beloved monarch.
Diwali, the most celebrated of the Hindu festivals, is also marked by a prayer to Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. Senior Sarah Quintal, who organized the celebration as part of a class project, said that Diwali's “sort of like this spring cleaning thing,” where people scrub their homes to please Lakshmi and bring good fortune to their families.
Quintal, who was studying abroad in India at this time last year, also taught her classmates rangoli, a traditional Indian art form that can be made using chalk or flower petals.
Junior Kumara Govardhan, of India, said he misses being home for Diwali.