Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

Queen’s lights up for the Hindu Diwali festival

Many local residents took part in the Diwali celebrations held at Queens University Belfast.
Many local residents took part in the Diwali celebrations held at Queens University Belfast.

Queen's University Belfast celebrated Diwali, the biggest festival of India, for the very first time last week.

The Hindu festival took place in the Student’s Union last Friday, November 5, with over 200 people taking part in the celebrations.

Dr Shrobona Bhattacharya, who works at the university and organised the event said: “Diwali is popularly known as the festival of light — the most significant spiritual meaning is ‘the awareness of the inner light’.

“This festival is the celebration of this inner light, in particular, the knowing of which outshines all darkness, removes all obstacles and dispels all ignorance.

“It was great to see so many people take part.there were over 240 people at the event and many local residents came along. Even though the festival is religious the celebrations we held were much more community based and representative of other faiths.

“There were a variety of events that made up the evening celebrations — students of Methodist College Belfast performed orchestral pieces and there were classical Indian dances, Bengali songs, as well as prayers and talks.’’

More than 200 people took part in group dance (Dandia) while wearing India’s national costume, the sari. The event was inaugurated by professor Tony Gallagher, pro vice-chancellor of Queen’s University . Dr Shrobona Bhattacharya said: “Mr Gallagher gave an inspiring talk about the importance of celebrating international festivals and emphasised the contributions of the international community in university as well as in Northern Ireland.”

The Sanskrit name Diwali translates into ‘row of lamps’. The festival is celebrated in many countries throughout the world.

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