On Nov. 30, one of Chabot College’s newest clubs organized the first-ever Diwali celebration on campus. With a great turnout, free food and a beautiful celebration of South Asian culture, this event proved to be an impressive first for the new South Asian/Punjabi Club.
The event started with everyone entering to mix and mingle while the club members set up for their presentation. This is when Alex Karan, a prominent figure in the club, introduced himself to everyone and invited us all to enjoy a meal catered by Raja Sweets.
This ended up being a crowd-pleaser with many attendees sharing with me that this restaurant was one of their favorite places to get Indian food. Hannita, an attendee mentioned how she “was excited about Raja Sweets catering because they have a great reputation.”
After everyone had a chance to dig in and settle down, Karan and club President Sifti Singh dove into their presentation about the origins of Diwali. There are three origins of the holiday which all have different stories and cultural meanings which were very interesting.
One attendee, Praneel shared with me how he “really appreciated the three versions being shared because it encompasses many different South Asian cultures. It was the highlight of the event for me.”
Another attendee echoed this sentiment saying, “I appreciated them sharing the three origins of the holiday which I found interesting. I was pleasantly surprised to see such a diverse turnout despite this being a South Asian holiday.”
What we all took away from the presentation is that Diwali means “row of lamps” and people light lamps to symbolize “light over darkness”. According to the presentation, “it is the awareness of the inner light and higher knowledge.”
Another takeaway was that people celebrate Diwali in many different ways. Some honor Goddesses invite family members over, give gifts, light fireworks and share food. Many also light small lamps called diyas and line them up by windows to welcome good energy.
After the presentation, Karan thanked Michael Lai, a counselor from MOVEMENT, Arnold Paguio, Director of Student Life and Kirti Reddy, Executive Assistant who all played a part in helping to put together this event.
I then had a chance to speak with Karan and Singh to ask them about their experience throwing the club’s first-ever event.
Karan shared, “I had my doubts but the students showed up and supported us. It’s hard because we’re a new club still getting to know each other which was challenging. In the end, we came together and had a great outcome.”
Singh shared that she found it “really hard because getting everyone together was difficult. Thanks to Mr. Alex, Ms. Kirti and Mr. Michael for their help. It took about a month to put together and I’m proud of the turnout of our first event.”
As the night came to a close, club members handed out diyas for everyone so they could continue to celebrate at home. This night turned out to be a great success for the South Asian/Punjabi Club’s first event.
If you want to stay up to date with information about future events you can follow them on Instagram @desiclubchabot.