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Diwali Festival of Lights and Cultural Celebration at Stony Brook University

STONY BROOK, NY, October 29, 2013 – In celebration of Diwali, the Indian festival of lights, The Center for India Studies, the Faculty Student Association (FSA) and Campus Dining Services will host an authentic celebration at Jasmine in the Charles B. Wang Center on November 4, 2013 at 6:00 p.m.

Diwali is a national holiday in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Guyana, and many other countries. It is one of the most important festivals of the year and is celebrated in families by performing traditional activities together in their homes. Diwali involves the lighting of small clay lamps filled with oil to signify the triumph of good over evil. Celebrants wear new clothes through the festival and share sweets and snacks with family members and friends.

“Diwali is the most popular festival in India,” says Dr. S. N. Sridhar, a Distinguished Service Professor and Director of the Center for India Studies at Stony Brook University. “The whole country is lit up.”

To make Stony Brook’s event a genuine representation of Diwali, guests will be able to participate in the tradition of devotional worship of the Lakshmi, the Indian Goddess of wealth and prosperity, at the Wang Center Chapel, followed by a tea light (Diya) procession.

After the light procession, Curry Kitchen at Jasmine will prepare a delicious traditional vegetarian dinner including two appetizers, six entrees, salad, two desserts and beverages. For many Indians, Diwali is a meatless holiday. The food is vegetarian, as nonviolence (ahimsa) is a principles of major Indian religions and by not killing an animal to the make the meal, is considered pure. Guests will also be able to enjoy performances by Stony Brook Bhangra and a live DJ.

“All in all, it’s a most joyous celebration. We hope to make it a recurring tradition on campus,” commented Dr. Sridhar.

Traditional Indian sweet boxes called “mithai”, another important aspect of Diwali, are given to friends and loved ones as a token of holiday wishes and friendship. Sweet boxes include varieties such as fudge-like Barfi, moist Bundi Ladoo and Kesar/Plain Peda, and will be sold at Jasmine, the University Bookstore, and Seawolves MarketPlace through the entire week of the festival. Each sweet box is $5.99.

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