Diwali is not a festival, it’s a feeling: Cardiff students on what Diwali means to them

Some students threw a party in their student hall

Diwali is a five-day long Hindu festival celebrated in India. Each day has its own significance in Hindu Mythology. The first day (Dhanteras) marks the arrival of the goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth.  This day is celebrated with early morning rituals or puja.

Diwali falls on the third day of the festival. It is celebrated by visiting relatives and friends and watching the fireworks together. The fourth day marks the Hindu new year. The fifth day (Bhaidooj) celebrates the bond between brothers and sisters and food and gifts are exchanged.

Many Indians feel homesick since back in India the festival is a five-day gala. The family gets together, everyone buys new dresses and gives each other presents. Every family has its own tradition and missing those little things when everyone back home is still enjoying them, makes you even more nostalgic.

But the feeling of being alone is what actually brings us together.

Mayank, Anand and Mehul hosted a Diwali party in their student hall, they said: “Just like at Christmas, we believe no one should be alone at Diwali too. This was the thought behind hosting the Diwali party. We firstly decided that it would be a small party but the thought of people missing home made us invite a lot of them. We decided to have a potluck and a lot of people brought various traditional Indian homemade food.”

“The table was full of Indian food, everyone was wearing traditional Indian dresses, girls were draped in beautiful sarees and Kurtis while guys wore traditional Kurtas. There was Bollywood music and everyone was on their feet shouting those Bollywood songs at the top of their lungs,” says Shraddha Pongde who studies Computing Science at Cardiff University.

Diwali is about the little things one does with their family so for those few days everyone gathers together and celebrates the festival.

“Arriving in Cardiff just this September, I still miss my home a lot and especially during festivals. Seeing everyone dressed in traditional Indian clothes, eating Indian food and dancing to Bollywood music made me happy. The whole day I did not feel like it was Diwali but when I entered the venue it felt like home and made me miss home a little less.” says Aashi Dhabalia.

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