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Diwali by Chris Fitzgerald

Posted by on Monday, November 16, 2015 in News, , .

Having never been to a Diwali celebration before I had little to no idea of what to expect on the night of November 7th. The only time I had actually ever heard about Diwali previously was on The Office when the office attended Kelly’s Diwali celebration. This showcase event was a much greater spectacle than I could have ever imagined and it all started when I arrived 45 minutes before in an attempt to secure an extra ticket for a friend. By the time I had arrived the line was hundreds of people long, with many people wearing more traditional Indian clothing. I was astonished to see the amount of people there, realizing quickly that I was not going to be able to obtain an extra ticket and that my experience would be on my own. It is also important to note that though this event is traditionally celebrated by Hindus, it was attended by people of all backgrounds and even had performers of different backgrounds.

All of my expectations were thrown out the window upon the start of the opening act. A rather upbeat and animated man came on stage rapping about the main character, Sid, and how we would be following his emotions as a first-year student here at Vanderbilt. Now if you didn’t know, this year’s Diwali celebration was themed on the new Disney movie Inside Out. Though I haven’t seen the movie myself, I do know that it gives personifications to emotions in people’s heads.

The performance was really an interesting twist between more traditional Bollywood dancing and modern hip hop. Modern hip hop and pop songs were laid over with Bollywood sounds and the performers wore more traditional clothing and that of what you would expect from a Vanderbilt student. The themes of this performance, like the movie, help draw attention to mental health and the interaction of emotions, specifically at Vanderbilt. The story highlighted dilemmas that often face Vanderbilt freshman and common ways for these fresh minds to cope with all of these new experiences. By using a long standing cultural ritual with a modern twist, they were able to connect with their past, yet show that these themes are contemporary.

 

 

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