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Fireworks, food and dancing to mark Diwali in Exeter

Spectacular fireworks, Indian food and dancing and the chance to dress up like a Bollywood star will be the highlights of the University of Exeter’s Diwali celebrations.

Henna painting, dance workshops, market stalls and performances will be on offer at the event, which is run by student volunteers and is open to all visitors.

The Diwali event on Sunday, 22 October, is organised by the University of Exeter Asian and Hindu societies and university and Students’ Guild staff.

About 50 students run the stalls, activities and performances. They are currently rehearsing the intricate dances they will perform on the day.

Diwali is a five-day celebration of the Hindu festival of lights, honouring the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness.

The event will be held from 3.30 to 8pm in the Forum on the Streatham Campus in Exeter.

There will be an opening Puja ceremony. There will also be an opportunity to have photographs while dressed in Bollywood outfits and try out Bollywood acting.

Food from each of India’s regions will be available to purchase and try.

The fireworks will be viewed from the rear of the University’s XFI building towards the end of the event.

Second-year law student Anjani Jogia, president of the University of Exeter Hindu Society, said they would be highlight of the event.

“It’s such a brilliant day because it brings everyone together. There will be loads of delicious curries for people to try and the fireworks will be spectacular,” Anjani said.

“I first celebrated Diwali at the University of Exeter when my older sister was studying here. We are from Leicester, where there is a large Asian community and big Diwali events, and I think Exeter’s fireworks rivalled Leicester’s and we hope this will be the case this year too.

“Some students will be unable to be with their families during the five days of Diwali and we hope celebrating it with their University of Exeter family will be just as special. It is also lovely to be able to spend time with our friends in the local community.

“Every family has their own Diwali traditions. At my home we pray for prosperity, strength and the wisdom to get through the next year.”

Akshay Mirpuri, president of Exeter Asian Society, added: "Diwali on campus is by far one of the university’s biggest celebrations.

“Diwali, also known as the festival of lights, is a wonderful time of the year and is celebrated by people of all cultures across the world.

“This wonderful event is filled with authentic Indian food, workshops, traditional stalls, prayers and the amazing fireworks display – my favourite bit – a huge amount to fully immerse yourselves in the festivals celebrations.

“Whether you celebrate Diwali or not, this is the perfect family friendly opportunity to feel a sense of belonging in both cultures.

“We are not just celebrating Diwali but celebrating the incredibly successful multi-racial society we have in Exeter.

“To everyone who is celebrating Diwali away from home, we hope to make your celebration at the University of Exeter a special one.”

Date: 13 October 2017

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