November 17, 2018

The Hindu festival of Navratri was celebrated for the first time at Conestoga College on the weekend, as students marked the celebrations with dancing and music.

The event was held in the Doon campus’s Blue Room from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Dozens of students attended.

Navratri is a festival celebrated four times a year over nine nights and 10 days by the Hindu community and has special significance in the Gujarati community. At Conestoga, some non-Hindus joined in the celebrations just the same.

Aditi Patel, right, is a Conestoga broadcasting student and vice-president of the Gujarati Students Association. Ronak Darji, left, is a student in the college’s mobile solutions program and the organization’s president. Photo by Manija Hamidullah, Spoke News.

Aditi Patel, a student in the broadcasting – television and independent production program, is also vice-president of the Gujarati Students Association (GAR).

“Navratri is a festival of all dance, Gujarati dance, and we first pray for our goddess, Ambika,” Patel said in explaining what Navratri means to her. “After that we dance and play to the music of garba all night.”

The nine-day festival celebrates good over evil and removes any type of negative and purifies the mind with positive thoughts.

Ronak Darji, a student in Conestoga’s mobile solutions program and GAR president, said students who are part of the Hindu community can look forward to more future events, and students who are not part of the community but enjoy attending multicultural events are more than welcome to attend.

“If any other people from different cultures attend our event and they find it lots of fun with what we are doing here, they can come and enjoy it. We will do this kind of thing every year. They will enjoy it for sure.”

According to a statement by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Navratri is a “joyful time that reminds us of the invaluable contributions the Hindu community makes every day to our national fabric.”

A video snippet of the students’ garba dancing is here:

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