Western students shine during Diwali celebration
Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, was celebrated in the middle of America Friday night.

Dozens of students, faculty and staff at Missouri Western State University gathered inside Blum Student Union for International Student Services’ Diwali celebration.

The event featured authentic Indian food including chai tea, a few videos that quickly explain the holiday, Bollywood dancing, signing and socializing.

Rambabu Vuppara a graduate student at Missouri Western said more than 800 million people celebrate Diwali around the would, but he never imagined he would get the chance to celebrate in Missouri.

“We have this culture shock when we come to the U.S.A.,” he said. “These events literally help us to come out from that. You know we miss family. India is quite far away and we can’t go back and forth often, so events like this literally help us to connect with our fellow Indians and celebrate like we are in India.”

The holiday is celebrated in many countries including Fiji, India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Nepal and Singapore.

Once it was dark, everyone went outside to a nearby pond on campus to light fireworks and push candlelit lanterns out into the water.

“During Diwali, we celebrate Lakshmi, who is the Hindu god of wealth, fortune, and prosperity, and everyone likes wealth and prosperity,” VIP para said. “Diwali is also set to be the start of the new year especially in India, and it’s a great way to get people together, make new friends, have fun and be joyful.”

For anyone interested in taking Bollywood dance lessons at Missouri Western send an email to dance.shaina@gmail.com to learn more.

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