The festival of lights, formally known as Diwali, returned to Humber on Nov. 9, just four days before the festival falls.
This year the festival is set to be celebrated on Nov. 12, with South Asian communities across the world acknowledging its festivities based on the position of the moon.
Diwali is one of the biggest festivals in India and is celebrated with great enthusiasm all over the country. But for Indian-international students who are away from home usually celebrate with friends, they make on campus.
This year the event kicked off at the college’s Lakeshore campus from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Many students attended the festival and almost all of them were Indians.
“This is my second Diwali away from home,” said Hitasha Gheewala, child and youth care student at Lakeshore campus.
Gheewala, an international student, said she usually feels upset about being away from her family during the festivities.
“It is sad to do it away from home, but it is also fun because you get to meet new people,” she said. Gheewala plans to attend a Diwali party to celebrate despite not being able to celebrate with family.
Diwali is called the festival of lights and is celebrated to mark the victory of good over evil. People usually feed each other sweets and decorate their homes and offices with lights and diyas (small lanterns), which are a sign of prosperity and the lights represent peace in the new year.
The festival has a long history that is rooted in Hinduism. It’s said that on this day, Lord Rama defeated the egoist and evil king Ravana to bring back his wife Sita. People laid diyas to welcome them and Rama’s brother Laxman when they returned home, called Ayodhya.
But Diwali is celebrated for other reasons in other religions. Sikhs celebrate Diwali as Bandi Chor Diwas because on this day, the sixth Guru of Sikhs, Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji, defeated Mughal Emperor Jehangir and freed 52 other princes from captivity.
The smell of Indian food and the sound of Bollywood music filled the air of the Lakeshore campus on Thursday as dance and musical performances kicked off the festival.
Along with music and dance, there were stalls for diya decoration and henna. People even wore their traditional Indian attire to celebrate.
“I feel sad about celebrating away from home. I am glad that Humber took this initiative to make us feel a little at home,” said Anjali Shah, a business management and financial studies student.
Shah said she was feeling very low this festive season as this is her first time celebrating without her family but she took her friends and decided to celebrate.
“Although it is not exactly the same, still it gives some sense of celebration,” Shah said.
Gheewala, too, was also grateful to Humber, and said she is happy the college acknowledges students who are celebrating away from their families. She also thanked Ignite and First Year Experiences for all the arrangements.
Humber College’s North campus is set to have its Diwali celebration on Nov. 17.