A little taste of India

By By Natalie Hale

By Natalie Hale

Members of the Indian Student Association produced an entire evening of dance, song and skits to bring a taste of India to the U Saturday night.

The event’s title, “Rangoli,” means colors, said Priti Shah, a physics doctoral student at the U. “They are colorful patterns that are designed on the floors and outside of houses.”

The evening was filled with traditional Indian songs, Bollywood pop-culture classics, dances from different regions of India and a mild taste of Indian food.

Women in brightly glowing saris and men wearing Kurta pajamas weren’t the only participants on the stage. Visitors and guests of many nationalities also donned traditional Indian clothing for the night.

But the event didn’t only attract those who have extensive knowledge of Indian culture. Students and community members came out to enjoy the festivities and to be exposed to their small taste of India.

“This seemed like a great opportunity for me to see things I’m not used to seeing and to enjoy the culture,” said Lorraine Evans, a junior in the international studies program.

The principal holiday the festival focused on was Diwali, a traditional religious holiday in India known as the festival of lights, Shah said.

This Indian holiday is typically five days in length. There is no set starting day, but traditionally it falls on the no-moon day known as Amavasya, according to www.diwalifestival.org.

Large Rangoli patterns are created in front of homes to welcome gods during the Diwali celebration.

These large, brightly colored patterns are typically made with powdered chalk and are meant to beautify and bring good luck to households, said Dheerajvalkya Gadicherla, a mechanical engineering master’s student at the U.

The Indian Students Association partnered with Asian’s Women’s Self-Help Association for Education for the evening, an organization dedicated to providing education for underprivileged children in India.

The groups sold T-shirts and accepted donations, helping them raise $1,100 for the charity.

The celebration of Diwali represents the destruction of darkness by light, a metaphor for the eradication of ignorance through education, which is highly valued in India.

For more information about the celebration of Diwali, students can go to www.diwalifestival.org or contact the Indian Students Association through its Web site at www.utah.edu/isa.

Kim Peterson

Junior Siddhanth impersonates Hrithik Roshan, the Indian equivalent of Michael Jackson, with a dance at this year’s Sangoli Saturday Night in the Union Ballroom.