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Indian culture focus of Diwali Mela

Students, faculty and staff will have the opportunity to celebrate the festival of lights with the India Student Association this Saturday.

The India Student Association’s annual event, Diwali Mela, a Hindu festival, will take place Nov. 16 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Perry Field House.

“It is just a time to emphasize authentic Indian food, culture and performance,” said Shivam Patil, vice president for ISA. ”That is our biggest priority.”

Students and faculty of all different backgrounds and cultures are encouraged to attend the event, he said.

The show will include musical performances, a fashion show, dance and authentic Indian food.

“There will be two bands performing,” Patil said. “One singing and the other just music.”

Performers are from the University and other areas as well.

Students from different cultures are not only encouraged to attend the event, but to participate in it as well.

“It is an opportunity for us to share our traditions and cultures with the world,” Patil said.

Diwali Mela was originally started at the University in the 1980s as a small gathering for Indian students and faculty, Patil said. Since then, it has grown into a popular event on campus.

“It didn’t really become a big thing until about 10 years back when it was opened to everyone,” he said.

Guests will be able to learn more about the Indian culture and enjoy themselves in the process.

“It’s a small part of the semester when students and professors can get away from the stress and have a break,” Patil said, “It’s a time when they can have fun and get loose.”

Junior Angelo Crenshaw attended Diwali Mela last year and had positive things to say about it.

“It was really good,” Crenshaw said. “I loved the performances and the food was really good and different.”

Crenshaw also had advice for students and faculty who are planning to attend the event.

“Try to get the full experience of the event,” he said. “They teach you a lot there.”

Although some students have not attended Diwali Mela, they are not opposed to seeing what it is about.

“It sounds like something I would probably go to,” sophomore Brittany Mondragon said. “I think it’s good to see what different cultures do and how they interact.”

Students and faculty who attend the event are also encouraged to attend the after party that follows it as well.

“After sitting for three hours, everyone gets a chance to have fun, dance and enjoy themselves to the fullest,” Patil said.

Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door. They are available at the information desk in the Union.

“People can expect a lot,” Patil said, “It just gets bigger and bigger every year.”

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