MTU celebrates Diwali Night
HOUGHTON — After taking a year off, Michigan Technological University’s Diwali Night celebration returned Saturday with a night of food, music and dance.
When last year’s event was cancelled because of COVID, Indian students distributed sweets to different houses, said Kishan Gajjar, a second-year master’s student in mechanical engineering.
Diwali, also known as the Festival of Light, is celebrated as a five-day festival in India. Set so the third and biggest night falls on the darkest night of the lunar month, it marks the triumph of good over darkness.
“It is a symbol of expanding the light all over the universe,” Gajjar said. “And it is a big celebration back in India.”
Preparations for Saturday’s performance at the Rozsa began about a month ago, with planning for food starting two weeks before that.
Gajjar was responsible for making much of Saturday’s food. Some spices were brought directly from India; others were found in Chicago and Detroit.
They had expected between 400 to 450 to attend the dinner. Instead, it was more than 600, Gajjar said.
Following Saturday’s dinner, the crowd crossed campus to the Rozsa for a lively set of performances, drawing from traditional styles as well as Bollywood productions, bhangra dance numbers and hip-hop influence.
Prabhjot Singh Mukandwal, an assistant professor at Tech’s College of Business, said the night also gives those who are away from their families a way to feel connected.
“I do recognize that many of you are away from your homes and families,” he said. “But at the same time, if you realize, this festival has united us in a way that we can reflect back on how are we contributing in building a vibrant international community here in the Upper Peninsula.”