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Diwali Festival of Lights and Cultural Culinary Celebration

Sweet boxes diwali
Sweet boxes diwali
Diwali sweet boxes are available at Campus Dining locations.

Diwali is a national holiday in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Guyana and many other countries. It is one of the most important festivals of the year, and families celebrate with traditional activities in their homes. The Faculty Student Association (FSA) and CulinArt will host an authentic celebration to honor this festival with cultural and culinary activities. 

Diwali, the festival of lights, celebrates Lord Rama’s eventual defeat of the evil spirit Ravana and his triumphant return to his home after 14 years of exile. It is called the “festival of lights” since it involves lighting small clay lamps filled with oil to signify the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance.  

It is a festival of new beginnings. Families clean their homes and workplaces to help bring good fortune, they decorate with clay lamps and Rangoli to welcome Goddess Laxmi for puja (making an offering of flowers or fruit to an image of a Goddess), and then celebrate with feasts and firework festivities. Celebrants wear new clothes throughout the festival and exchange gifts, sweets and snacks with family members and friends. 

“For many Indians, Diwali is the best time of year! During Diwali, I always feel so much closer to my family, friends, and my Indian culture and community, especially as someone born in the United States. I especially look forward to the delicious food, and it is so refreshing and exciting to experience Stony Brook’s weeklong celebration with amazing food options! I have never felt so close to home,” said Nisha Boghra, vice president of communications, Undergraduate Student Government.

For many Indians, Diwali is a meatless holiday. The food is vegetarian, as nonviolence (ahimsa) is a principle of major Indian religions, and by not killing an animal to make the meal, it is considered pure. 

This year’s weeklong celebration includes lavish Diwali meals at dining locations throughout campus.

Friday, October 21 

East Side and West Side dine-in dinner at the Grill features a desi burger (chicken sandwich)*, masala fries, green chutney and red chutney. *Veggie burger may be substituted upon request.

Saturday, October 22

East Side and West Side dine-in dinner at the pasta station features chicken tikka masala pizza, paneer tikka masala pizza, green chutney and red chutney.

Sunday, October 23

East Side and West Side dine-in dinner at the deli station features cucumber chutney sandwich (cucumber, green chutney, spicy chutney, tomato and butter).

Monday, October 24: Main Diwali Day

East Side and West Side dine-in dinner at Chef’s Table features chana masala (dry) with basmati rice and naan, tadka dal, mango lassi and gulab jamun for dessert.

Tadka, Essence of India at Roth Food Court will feature a special menu including dal makhani, creamy matar paneer curry, pav bhaji, samosa chaat, falooda milkshake, jalebi, gulab jamun, basmati rice, naan and pav.

Tuesday, October 25

Curry Kitchen at Jasmine will feature a bento box special (while supplies last).

Teaching Kitchen

There will also be a Teaching Kitchen program on Monday, October 24, at 1 pm at Roth Food Court hosted by Kavya Shivakumar, CulinArt supervisor, who will make vegetable pakora with a mint chutney. Enter to win a seat at the Teaching Kitchen programs on the dining website.

Sweet Boxes, A Diwali Tradition

Sweets boxes are available at the Emporium at East Side, Market at West Side, Jasmine, SAC Market and Tadka at Roth Food Court and include a flameless tealight candle. Gift a Sweet Box to loved ones, family and friends. Flavors include mango, rose, besan, and nut halwa. 

Feast and have fun with loved ones and count your blessings on this special holiday. For more information about the Diwali celebration, please visit the dining website and follow @sbu_eats.


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