Colorado State University-Pueblo International Students Association celebrated a Diwali festival with Henna tattoos, cultural dances and internationally flavored food.
The event was planned in collaboration with the Diversity Resource Center, Office of Student Engagement and Leadership and the Center for International Programs, and took place on Oct. 26 at 4:30 p.m. in the Occhiato University Center Underground.
Between 4:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., the international students offered free Henna tattoos. Afterwards, Director of CIP, Annie Williams, began with a welcoming address. Pantea Matinrad, an international student from Iran, hosted the rest of the event.
After the welcome note, Sri Vatz, a CSU-Pueblo student from India, gave a small presentation about the history and culture of this Hindu festival of Diwali.
An official Puja ceremony took place, where the audience was shown how Hindu prayers are traditionally performed on this occasion.
“Diwali night 2013 was CISA’s attempt to bring something new to CSU-Pueblo,” said Nishesh Singh, CISA president. “It was celebrated for the first time at CSU-Pueblo, and given the attendance and the enthusiasm shown at the event, I think CSU-Pueblo is ready for more such events to celebrate the diversity and festivals from around the world to introduce various cultures and traditions.”
In order to keep to the theme of the event, South-Asian refreshments were served, which included a snack called “Samosa,” a drink called “Lassi,” and a desert called “Jalebi.”
The international students volunteered to serve the refreshments to the guests in order to give them the touch of the South-Asian cultures, where serving meals to the guests is important culturally.
Sofy Shrestha, an international student from Nepal, performed a solo dance routine on two Bollywood Diwali songs.
“The event was so much fun and full of joy and colors. I love to dance and this was also a mid-semester stress-buster for me,” Shrestha said.
After Shrestha’s performance, a group of students from Brazil, Colombia, Nepal, Saudi Arabia and Mexico gave a group dance performance on the famous Hollywood song called “Jai Ho,” from the movie “Slumdog Millionaire.”
Once the dance performances were over, the floor was open for the audience members to dance to the traditional Diwali songs with “Dandia,” which are two decorated sticks used in a certain way for group dance.
“It was amazing to perform Dandia dance, where our South-Asian students were teaching us how to do it, and it was not only easy to learn but a fun thing to try,” Williams said. “It is such an honor to learn about different cultures and their traditional events. We at CSU-Pueblo are so lucky to have such a diverse student population both from within and outside the United States.”
South-Asian students, students from other countries, students from the United States, community members, faculty and staff were among those attending the event.