Ternopil State Medical University students from India, while away from their homeland, sustain national traditions. Recently, they celebrated one of their greatest holidays, Diwali. This festival is associated with fire and light, symbolizing the victory of good over evil. The celebration was organized by the Association of Indian Students, and its president, fourth-year student Arshbeer Sandhu.
Celebrating the festival, Indians adorn their homes with flowers and lanterns, make rangoli (patterns on the floor out of painted rice, powder dyes or flowers), and launch fireworks. Diwali is a family holyday and is traditionally celebrated in a family circle, in this regard it is similar to Christian Christmas. Another tradition is to gift sweets and visit each other, wishing happiness and success in the next year. On this day, people pay off debts, and companies close previous year’s accounts, bringing their books to temples, where prayers for prosperity are being offered.
Celebrating with Indian studentswer the staff of the International Students’ Department, TSMU and TNEU lecturers, friends from the Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Czech Republic, and other countries.
When entering, the guests of this year’s Diwali celebration were sprinkled with flower petals.
At the beginning of the event, Indians students performed Puja, a religious ritual of prayer and honoring the gods.
Throughout the night, the hosts got to know their peers studying in other universities, introduced the community to the recently arrived freshmen, entertained their guests and performed dance numbers.
Greeting those present were Dean of the International Student’s Faculty Petro Selskyi, Deputy Director of the Center for Academic and Cultural Development Olena Pokryshko, President of the Polish Students’ Association Hubert Mikosza, coordinator for work with Indian students Puneet Kumar and others.
Sixth-year students finishing their studies in Ternopil received particular attention. They shared their impressions, memories and good wishes.
To celebrate the festival, Elina Abakarova studio of Indian Dance Amrita prepared several dance numbers, performed by Liudmyla and Diana Drachevski, Tania Yagnii, Olesia Linchevska, Yanina and Yulia Chaikivski. The girls danced traditional Diwali Diya dance and bhargaratami. The performers were grateful for the warm support they received.
Indian students, in turn, presented a popular folk dance “Garba”, usually performed in India on major festivals, as well as a Bollywood suite.
Students also presented a dramatic retelling of the history of their country, set to its unpfficial anthem Vandia Matarami. They portrayed India’s struggle for independence, its multi-ethnicity and everyday peaceful life of different ethnicities and denominations.
The evening’s surprise was a performance of the national dance of the state of Punjab, bhangra. Today this dance is quite popular throughout India and around the world. Ukrainian-Indian Sanskrit Study community and President of the Association of Indian Students Arshbeer Sandhu worked together on learning the dance moves in time to present them at the festival. The team included representatives from Poland, India and Ukraine: sixth year students of the Faculty of Medicine Kateryna Vorobets and Bohdana Pereviznyk, fourth year students Zuzanna Betkowiak and Nashir Avadiya, and dancers from Amrita. In this way, the organizers wanted to show that through art Ukrainians, Poles and Indians can find a common language and common interests.