Hanukkah and Diwali: The Festivals of Light

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By Ryan Kun

During a time of leaves falling and gingerbread lattes, students from across The David Project community are coming together with the Hindu students on their campus in order to celebrate Hanukkah and Diwali, two distinct holidays with a common epithet; the Festival of Lights.

 Diwali, a holiday of the Hindu faith, is a five-day celebration that takes place every year around the end of Autumn. Also known as the Hindu New Year, Diwali commemorates the spiritual victory of light over darkness and good over evil.  During this time, homes, offices, and places of worship across the Hindu community celebrate by lighting candles to brighten the area as much as possible. Due to the important role that light takes in this holiday, Diwali received the nickname as the Festival of Lights.

 In the Jewish tradition, Hanukkah is also known as the Festival of Lights. This commonality between both communities provided the chance for both religious groups to come together to learn about the other’s holiday through joint programming. During these programs, Jewish and Hindu students are given the opportunity to learn about each other’s religious customs, history, and more importantly, food.

 Judah Stein, a third year at the University of Cincinnati, has been coordinating with their South Asian Student Association (SAASA) on a Diwali Hanukkah event on their campus this year. “Working with the South Asian community has been so eye opening for both parties. We all have learned tremendously about each culture.” This will be Cincinnati’s second year working with SAASA on hosting the event.

 Temple University, on the other hand, will be having Hanukkah Diwali for the first time on their campus this year. Kelsey Feldman (4th year) has been one of the student’s working diligently with Delta Kappa Delta, a South Asian Cultural sorority, on the program.

“I have always been a strong believer in the importance of learning about other cultures, but it wasn’t until I started working on our Hanukkah Diwali project that I discovered how much I enjoy uniting different communities on campus. I am so excited for our upcoming Hanukkah Diwali event in collaboration with Delta Kappa Delta. I’m looking forward to learning about Diwali traditions and I am excited to teach about Hanukkah as well. Learning about new cultures fosters growth and understanding and I’m proud to be a part of an organization that supports that.”

 Other campuses have even gained some attention from their own student bodies. The Ohio State University’s newspaper The Lantern wrote an exceptional piece on their local event promoting the joint efforts of both communities. To view the article, click here.

 Hanukkah Diwali events will be taking place on multiple campuses this school year. Please see the list below to find one happening at a campus near you!

 The Ohio State University: November 17th, 2018

University of Cincinnati: December 2nd, 2018

University of Michigan: TBD

University of Texas at Austin: November 28th, 2018

University of California, Los Angeles: November 27th, 2018

Temple University: November 27th, 2018