Celebrating Diwali in Her Home Away from Home: Meet Amulya Annappa

October 24 marks the celebration of Diwali, India’s biggest and most important holiday of the year. The festival of lights celebrates the triumph of good over evil and is recognized by millions across the world. Cape Breton University is home to a diverse group of students and we are proud to celebrate special occasions such as this with them. 

Amulya Annappa is a student in the Post-Baccalaureate Diploma in Business Management program at CBU and looks forward to Diwali celebrations this week. As someone who loves to learn new things, Amulya says she chose CBU because it provides students with outstanding learning opportunities, state of the art facilities and the chance to get to know students from different countries across the world. 

In addition to her studies, Amulya is also the Multicultural Hub Coordinator in the CBU Students’ Union. The Multicultural Hub offers students a welcoming environment to learn about and experience different cultures. Among the various celebrations the Hub hosts throughout the year, Diwali is one of the largest. 

Amulya is from Bengaluru in the state of Karnataka, India. While she is used to celebrating the festival in Bengaluru, where Diwali is also known as Deepavali, Amulya says she can’t wait to celebrate the festival in Cape Breton. While this year might be a different experience, it is one she is really looking forward to. 

Amulya describes Cape Breton as her home-away-from-home and is excited to celebrate with her new CBU family. “My first Deepavali away from home is a very different feeling,” she admits. “But now I have CBU as part of my extended family which makes being away from my family a little easier.” Amulya still plans to connect with her loved ones back home via video calls so they can celebrate together from afar. 

India, a country with a population of more than a billion people, is very diverse and home to numerous cultures. While many take part in celebrating Diwali, the format of the celebrations can look different depending on where you’re from. “In my home, we call it Deepavali,” explains Amulya. “If you are looking for Bhaidooj, Dhanteras, Choti Diwali, Bada Diwali or Govardhan Pooja then you will not find it in Bengaluru.” The celebration can also mark the beginning of a new year in certain communities. 

For Amulya, Diwali also holds religious significance. “Traditionally on this day we worship Goddess Lakshmi, and request for her to bless us with good health, wealth and prosperity,” says Amulya. “We celebrate by wearing new clothes, signifying a new year and a fresh start. Bursting crackers signifies destroying evil from our lives and the lighting of diyas signifies a bright future. Deepavali is the time to remove darkness in our minds by the light called knowledge. That is the actual meaning of this festival, so to me, the real celebration is learning something new.” 

With an ever-growing number of Indian students at CBU, Diwali has become an annual celebration on campus. As the Multicultural Hub Coordinator, Amulya had the opportunity to be part of the planning committee and she is full of enthusiasm for the planned festivities. 

“The CBU Events Committee planned a three-day event for students and employees,” shares Amulya. “There will be a flash mob bhangra dance performance, Mehndi (henna) hand painting and a fashion show featuring traditional Indian clothing from different regions of the country. Of course, the cherry on top is the DJ night. I can’t wait.” 

In addition to Diwali, there will be many other cultural events organized by the Multicultural Hub throughout the year. Amulya says being the coordinator is a privilege and through such events, she hopes to enhance student life for both domestic and international students.

If you are interested in getting involved with the Multicultural Hub, please contact Amulya at su_mhc@cbu.ca

On behalf of Cape Breton University, we would like to wish Amulya and everyone celebrating a happy and prosperous Diwali!