The University of Georgia’s Indian Student Association board celebrates at their Diwali Night on Nov. 6, 2022. (Courtesy/ISA;Pandora Yearbook) 

The University of Georgia’s Indian Student Association board celebrates at their Diwali Night on Nov. 6, 2022. (Courtesy/ISA;Pandora Yearbook) 
Marking their last event of the semester, the University of Georgia’s Indian Student Association celebrated Diwali, the “festival of lights,” on Sunday night.
After weeks of planning the event, the Indian Student Association welcomed attendees with open arms to celebrate and get immersed in the shared culture in the Memorial Hall Ballroom. People both familiar with and new to the holiday and cultural traditions of Diwali gathered to partake in the festivities.
Nana Appiah Essel Charles-Chess, a fourth-year Ph.D. biology student from Ghana, said that he had a lot of Indian friends and asked them what Diwali meant, to which they replied a celebration of being saved from darkness.
“I think it’s one of the cultural things that Indians bring to the international community. And I’ve been friends with the Indian group for three years now. And I always wanted to learn more about Indian culture and religious ways of looking at things,” Chess said.
The beginning of the event started with a spread of traditional Indian food that was served on a first come, first served basis. On the menu was chicken biryani, paneer biryani, papad (an Indian wafer), chili gobi, gajar ka halwa (a carrot pudding), a dip called raita, and for dessert, baklava and vanilla ice cream.
Diwali is a celebration of Hindu mythology following a goddess named Sita and how she was freed from a demon king. When she reunited with her husband, it symbolized light overcoming darkness.
Sowmya Gangyshetty, a first-year law student at UGA, says that she thinks Diwali is the time of year when people should take a moment and reflect on everything that they’ve done and let all of the darkness go.
“Life has its ups and downs, and it’s important to acknowledge them both, but at the same time, at a certain point, you should let that darkness go,” Gangyshetty said.
Although there were different perspectives from people on why attendees celebrated Diwali and what it meant to them, all of the answers were very similar in recognizing the good and the light in the darkness rather than the darkness alone.
The celebration kicked off with a prayer of happiness before introducing numerous performances and stories from the crowd on their memories of celebrating Diwali growing up.
A video was shown of an ISA leader who interviewed a few students on campus to get their outlook on what India and its culture mean to them.
There was also a trivia game to get the audience engaged and test their knowledge of Diwali, and the winners received prizes in between performances.
There were a total of ten performances which included musical and singing acts and individual and group dance performances that displayed high energy and exhilaration. Each dance seemed to tell a story as the dancers would have different moves, partners, or sometimes props as they went through a series of songs for the routine. The ISA committee ended the night with their own group performance before opening the dance floor as the night came to an end.
Overall, the celebration displayed inclusivity as the association welcomed the community to celebrate one of India’s most important holidays of the year. The event provided a safe and welcoming space for the Indian community at UGA to celebrate and share traditions with others.

The Classic Center Theatre hosted a full house this Sunday at the Athens Symphony Fall Concert featuring guest narrator Alton Brown. Brown, a University of Georgia alum, Food Network personality and James Beard Award-winner most famous for his show “Good Eats” and for hosting “Iron Chef America,” narrated the final piece of the night, “Peter and the Wolf” by Sergei Prokofiev.

From Corgis and cotton candy, to basketball toss and Boradors, the Athens Area Humane Society had plenty to offer at its inaugural Furtastic Fall Festival. The fundraising event brought family fun to the humane society’s main shelter on Sunday afternoon. 

The Lyndon House Arts Center is hosting the biennial program, “RE-,” the Clarke County School District Student Art Exhibition. The exhibit opened Oct. 11 and will be on display until Jan. 14, 2023, featuring the works by students from kindergarten to twelfth grade.

The beloved B-52s are headed back down the Atlanta Highway and are making their final stop at the Classic Center to round out their Farewell Tour that started in August.

The University of Georgia’s Department of Dance and Young Choreographers Series will present its showcase, “Endure,” in the New Dance Theatre in the Dance Building from Nov. 10-12 at 7:30 p.m. each night. “Endure” is a Senior Exit and Emerging Choreographers Showcase themed around perseverance and the dedication that goes into creating a performance.

For many people, when the clock strikes midnight on Nov. 1, it’s time to ditch the ghosts and gore and start getting into the holiday spirit. On Nov. 17, Athens Academy will kick off the holiday season with their 8th annual Holiday Market. The free event will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 1281 Spartan Lane..

On Monday, Avid Bookshop hosted David Sedaris at The Classic Center Theatre. Despite living in England, the American humorist, comedian and author came to Athens for one night during his world tour.
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