Ramapo’s ISO hosts annual ‘Light the Night’ celebration

The International Student Organization (ISO) hosted the fifth annual “Light the Night,” their Diwali and Tihar celebration on Nov. 17. The celebration was full of lights, stunning traditional dance performances, singing, music and mouth-watering South Asian cuisine that all captured the essence of the festival.

“This event celebrates my favorite festival of all time, Tihar,” said ISO Vice President Shubhashree Shahi in an interview with The Ramapo News. “It holds all my childhood memories of dancing, singing with friends, eating delicacies with family, cleaning and decorating my home with lights.” 

Shahi shared that the inspiration behind the event was to highlight and celebrate Tihar and Diwali. Diwali, more commonly known as the “Festival of Lights,” is a South Asian holiday that symbolizes the triumph of good over evil and the victory of light over darkness. 

This five-day festival of lights honors Yamaraj, the god of death, but the worship of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, dominates the festivities. Each day marks the recognition of a different animal. This festival is noted for lighting up homes with candles, oil-wick lamps and electric lights.

The night started off with each attendee receiving four tickets to place in a raffle for prizes. Prizes included a TV, a $50 Amazon gift card, a fluffy blanket, Encore speakers and Beats headphones. Traditional Indian music played as students entered, and afterward, the dance performances began. Performances included duos, a group of six and a trio of graduating seniors, all from one of the co-sponsors of the event, NAACH.

In addition to the dance performances, singing and traditional music, ISO served South Asian food. Some of the food included naan, chicken tikka masala, butter chicken, vegetable curry and other dishes that had attendees coming back for more.  

ISO Treasurer Ekaprana Rameh said that ISO is a social organization that bridges the divide between international and domestic students. The organization includes many different cultures and perspectives from around the globe and allows individuals to enhance their knowledge of these cultures through several diverse events throughout the semester.

ISO events are open to everyone, and the club aims to be inclusive to the whole campus. They provide more opportunities for students to engage with each other and break out of their comfort zone.

With the help of their co-sponsors NAACH, South Asian Club, WRPR, the Student Government Association and the Office of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Compliance, ISO was able to pull off a night that brought the Ramapo community closer.

“This event is an annual tradition at Ramapo College, and we are grateful to have celebrated its fifth year,” Rameh said in an email. “We definitely aim to continue this tradition in the upcoming years, creating new memories along the way.” 




Featured photo by Rebecca Bleich