Foreign students in the UK are celebrating Diwali with a bang.
Thousands of miles away from home on Diwali, the Indian students are in an explosive mood to celebrate the festival at the world’s top academic institutes — Oxford, Cambridge and the London School of Economics (LSE) included.
Come November 5, and you will feel the Diwali spirit in full blaze at the Oxford Diwali Ball. This is not all. Also on the cards is Diwali Dhamaka at the London School of Economics. Right from extraordinary student song to dance performances and a DJ playing Bollywood numbers — you have it all
The University of Oxford too promises a blazing time with Diwali Ball featuring a traditional three-course Indian meal and stalls serving mango lassi, pani puri and so many other Indian snacks. And then, you have a fireworks display.
Jamie Patel, secretary of the Oxford University Hindu Society, celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, says: Every year since the society’s inception, we have hosted the Oxford Diwali Ball.
He says the students from Cambridge, Oxford Brookes, London universities, and even Bristol are attending the ball.
Cambridge University India Society (CUIS) president Malti Bipin Vaghela says they are even arranging for a coach to take students to the Oxford Ball.
“Non-Indians make up around a quarter to a third of our guests at the Diwali Ball each year, and they love the idea of immersing themselves in a completely different culture for the night!” adds Patel.
At Cambridge, prayers, along with some extravagant Indian meal is being offered at Wesley House on November 12. A classical dance drama, based on an aspect of Hindu mythology, involving dancers from the Cambridge University Indian Classical Arts Society, is also to be staged.
The Hindu Cultural Society president Nikhila Ravi says: “The emphasis this year is on the cultural aspects of Hinduism, with a modern twist. In addition to the dance drama, we are going to act out the Ramayana, Harry Potter-style.
“Complete with sparklers to light up the night, it will be a celebration, a religious occasion, a cultural feast, a gastronomic delight but a completely alcohol-free party! Despite the intense Cambridge work schedule, students always take the time to come and celebrate Diwali with friends.
Non-Indians students too are invited. “The puja is an optional part of the celebration. So religion aside, people of all faiths enjoy the cultural aspects. They’re left amazed by the rich traditions of India, the vibrant community spirit and of course, they rave about the lovely Indian vegetarian food,” adds Ravi.