On Monday 28th October, the Indian Culture Society hosted a Diwali Festival event in the Main Hall. The event was attended by more than 50 people from a variety of backgrounds who were interested in taking part in the festivities.
Arjun, Sreekumar, Indian Culture Society Chairperson
"Before the event itself, we had a quick pre-event "aarti", which was a prayer that was requested by Hindu students, and it was optional to take part in. It involved two of the Committee members (Dipti Puthawala and Vinay Bakshi) taking a gold plate with the Om symbol decorated on it, placing a small lamp on it, and conducting a quick prayer to devotional music in the background, and projection of Hindu imagery."
After a brief introduction to the festival by the Chairperson, Arjun Sreekumar, the event itself started off with a "Rangoli" competition, which involved groups of four using coloured powder to create beautiful, radial designs. People were then asked to go around and vote for their favourite design. The winning members each won an authentic Indian-designed elephant keychain, and gold chocolate as a bonus!
Then, two of the committee members, Rubina Kumari and Dipti Puthawala, put up an energetic Bollywood dance performance for the audience to enjoy. They were then joined by the audience - coming up front and dancing to popular songs from all over India, North and South. It was a lot of fun for people to just get together, unwind and dance to hit songs, showing off their moves.
"Once everyone had worn themselves out, food was served at last! We had ordered our food from Malabar Spices, keeping vegetarians and vegans in mind. We served naan (with vegan versions), boiled rice (vegan) and pilau rice (vegetarian). For the curries, we served Malabar Chicken Curry (halal), Paneer Tikka Masala (vegetarian) and Chole [chickpeas] Masala (vegan). As dessert, we served Ladoos (Motichoor & Boondi) which are round sweets made of tiny pearl-like balls of gram flour, sugar and ghee moulded together, and Rewari which is a sesame-jaggery-cardamom based hard candy. The audience really enjoyed the food, happily going for seconds and thirds and even asking if they could take a portion home! At the end of the day, not a single plate of food went wasted."
"At the door, we also sold raffle tickets for just £1 each. The first, second, third prizes (which were announced at the end of the event) were a £10 AnyShop voucher, £5 Restaurant Choice card, a box of Thornton's Belgian Chocolate respectively, which was quite exciting. As a surprise, at the end of these prizes, we also gave out 5 McDonald's vouchers as a sort of Consolation prize, which was quite amusing to the crowd!"
"The event was concluded by taking the crowd to a secure, open space and (keeping all safety requirements in mind) handing them sparklers, overlooked by our Health & Safety Officer Vinay Bakshi. This made for several fun pictures, and a nice conclusion to the night! People were overall really satisfied by the event, and would ask us when the next event would be."
The Indian Culture Society aim to enlighten students on the beauty and diversity of Indian culture. "We hope to bring students from all backgrounds, all over the campus, together!"
Find out more about the society and their upcoming events by checking out their Society page at upsu.com here or by following them on social media. Facebook // Instagram