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The Asian Cultural Association (ACA) is celebrating the ancient Hindu festival Diwali and the Islamic holiday Eid today with several events on campus:

  • 12:15 p.m: Brown bag, “How Important are Religious Traditions to Young People?”, Interfaith Chapel, Hogg Hall, sponsored by the Office of Religious Life and International Students Association.
  • 6 p.m: Rangoli pattern-making on the steps of Farinon College Center.
  • 6:30-8 p.m.: Dinner and dancing in Marlo West, Farinon College Center, sponsored by Muslim Students Association.

For more information, email ACA President Sanda Wijeratne ’06 (Mount Lavinia, Sri Lanka), a double major in international affairs and English, or call her at x4241.

Deepawali is a Sanskrit word that means “rows of lights,” in reference to the custom of lamp lighting during the festival. In some parts of India and other countries, it is shortened to “Diwali.” It comes in late October or early November on the darkest night of the year. The holiday symbolizes the victory of honesty and the lifting of spiritual darkness. In Hinduism, darkness is compared to ignorance and the customary lighting of lamps signifies losing ignorance and gaining knowledge.

The holiday is also a celebration of the triumph of good over evil, held in memory of mythological stories of various divine incarnations conquering evil demons. The festival is celebrated throughout India as well as Nepal, Sri Lanka, Japan, and other countries of the region, regardless of religious affiliation. Celebrations also occur as far away as South America.

Eid occurs at the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting, and is a festival of great celebration. Muslims are not only joyful at the end of fasting, but thankful for the help and strength they believe were given throughout the previous month to help them observe self-control.

By everyone wearing their best or newest clothes and decorating their homes, the festive atmosphere is increased. There is also a special meal — significant, as it is the first daytime meal Muslims will have had in a month.

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