ESU’s Diwali – Festival of Lights Featuring Food, Music, Song and Dance, Is Slated for October 26

Posted by: jrivera on October 21, 2013, No Comments

“Diwali – Festival of Lights” will be at East Stroudsburg University on Saturday, October 26, at 5:30 p.m. in the Keystone Room. Shown from left to right during the 2012 ceremony are: President Marcia G. Welsh, Ph.D., Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Van A. Reidhead, Ph.D., and Economics Professor and Chair Pats Neelakantan, Ph.D.

Tickets are now on sale for “Diwali – Festival of Lights 2013,” which will be at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania on Saturday, October 26, at 5:30 p.m.

The word “Diwali” is the modern version of the Sanskrit word “Deepavali,” which means rows of light, and explains why the celebrations are often referred to as the “Festival of Lights.” The festival symbolizes the triumph of good over evil and focuses on appreciating the goodness in everyone – friend or foe. Diwali festivals are celebrated by a billion people in South Asia and elsewhere annually. Sponsored by ESU’s Desi Student Organization (DSO) and the economics department, this year’s event will be in the Keystone Room in the University’s Center for Hospitality Management.

Diwali Night ’13 will commence with the ceremonial lighting of lamps followed by a short introduction to the meaning of Diwali and other festivities around this time of the year. Lighting the lamp symbolizes the removal of ignorance with knowledge just as the light removes darkness. The highlights of this year’s Diwali program are classical Bharathanatyam dance, choreographed and danced by ESU sophomore Adithi Asuri, who is an accomplished dancer. Following classical dances, there will be popular Bollywood dances by community children and then guests will enjoy a Fashion Show by ESU students showcasing their varied South Asian costumes.

Dinner from ‘Spice India’ of Easton will be served following these dances.

Following dinner is another important highlight of the evening, Indian classical instrumental music by well-known artist Mr. Prabhat Kumar, who has performed in numerous concerts at local universities, colleges and schools, and community programs including Musikfest. In addition, he has presented lecture-demos at various colleges. He has produced a CD, “Ecstasy” with another world renowned artist. He has been teaching Hindustani music since 1985 in the Lehigh Valley. He is dedicated to teaching the tradition of Hindustani music and has many students of all ages in both the Lehigh Valley and Lansdale areas. His students have performed at many venues over the years, including MayFair, Artifest, Musikfest, India Fest and Penns Landing to name a few.  He has also developed orchestra pieces for Hershey High School Orchestra and Parkland’s Springhouse Middle School band.  During the ESU Diwali program, he and his students will present “Raag Shivranjini” in 16 beats. Participants are: Prabhat Kumar, Mahasweta Mitra, Neha Laud (on Sitar), Vanshi Singh (on Indian Flute) and Sahil Laud and Devender Dayal (on Tabla).

After the instrumental music, guests can enjoy musical chairs and then the audience can join the floor during the popular Dandia (stick dance).

Admission to the event is $20 for the general public and $7 for children ages 4 to 12. Tickets for ESU faculty and staff are $12.  ESU students are admitted at no cost; however complimentary tickets are limited. Students must contact Professor and Chair Pats Neelakantan or Professor Emeritus Seewoonundun Bunjun, Ph.D., in the Economics Department (located at 420 Normal Street) in advance to receive their free student ticket upon presentation of current I.D.

ESU’s DSO represents the countries of the United States, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Mauritius, Guyana, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Trinidad, and the Caribbean, as well as other Diaspora South Asians. The organization’s membership is open to all students. The term “Desi” is a common term referring to, or characteristic of, people of South Asian descent.

For more information or to purchase tickets contact Neelakantan at 570-422-3002, pats@esu.edu or Bunjun at 570-422-3240, shiv43@gmail.com.