Light up the Quad Event Planned for Diwali
An illuminating event is planned on campus to commemorate Diwali, the festival of lights celebrated throughout India. Students enrolled in Professor Romita Ray’s “Art and Architecture of India” course in the College of Arts and Sciences will be lighting up the Quad, setting out 1,500 battery operated luminaries. The event is set to take place from 6:30-9:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 12. The “candles” were made by students, fashioned from battery-operated tea candles, biodegradable soup bowls and sand.
“Over the years, Diwali has been celebrated on our campus by different student organizations,” says Ray. “This is the first time, however, that the Quad is being illuminated in keeping with the radiant spectacle that is inseparable from this festival.”
Celebrated all over India, Nepal and Sri Lanka, Diwali is meant to evoke peace, prosperity, wealth and knowledge. Originally a harvest festival, it is linked with different Hindu gods in different corners of India, and also with the Ramayana, a Hindu epic. In practice, Diwali is both a sacred and a secular festival, and is celebrated by everybody who wants to take part in the coming together of family and friends, a community or a neighborhood. It will be no different for this celebration on campus, as all members of the Syracuse University community are invited to attend.
“The event is meant to give students the chance to experience an Indian cultural event that is pluralistic, bright, beautiful and fun,” says Ray. “Indian art is a living aesthetic heritage and Diwali is a powerful testament to that. Although we won’t be using traditional oil lamps to light up the Quad, we will be transforming a familiar landscape into a radiant space thanks to hundreds of flickering tea candles.”
According to Nicola Kyvernitis ’16, “It exemplifies how diverse our University truly is, and the global culture that has been cultivated on our campus. As a great initiative taken by the Syracuse faculty to involve and educate students in festivities beyond the classroom, it serves as a precedent for future events to come. It is a privilege to be part of this exciting event put together by Professor Ray and her team. (I’m) truly looking forward to this remarkable experience.”
The event is being organized with the help of the Co-Curricular Funds Committee in the College of Arts and Sciences, the South Asia Center, Hendricks Chapel and the Department of Art and Music Histories. The Office of Student Centers and Programming Services, Physical Plant and Food Services and Purchasing, have also helped make this event happen. For more information about this event, contact Professor Ray at firstname.lastname@example.org.