Dancing Away Dandiya

CAB and ISO collaborated to give students, family, and friends a chance to rejoice during the Indian festival of Navratri.

CSU Students dancing on Sept. 29 in the Student Center – Photo Credit: Matthew Keyerleber

The bells of Dandiyas jingled, and blockbuster songs blared as over 350 students, family, and friends, dressed in ethnic attire danced in celebration during Dandiya Night. The event was held from 6 to 9 p.m. on Sept. 29 in the Student Center Glasscock Ballroom at Cleveland State University. 

The evening began with a vegetarian dinner, gone within the first hour, consisting of potato-filled samosas, Gobi Manchurian (fried cauliflower), vegetable noodles, and Gulab Jamun, a sweet dessert. Following the dinner, which was provided by Bomba Chaat, there was an optional prayer to the goddess of health and wellness that ended with a celebration of her blessings through dance. 

“It was fun,” Shivani, a senior math major at CSU, said. “I really enjoyed all the songs. I’m a senior and have come quite a few times. This is the first event that I’ve attended that the Campus Activities Board (CAB) has collaborated with the Indian Student Organization (ISO) on.” 

Ramandeep Arora, a sophomore studying computer engineering and diversity chair for CAB, began planning the event in July with help from ISO. 

“Diversity is a lot about collaborating with other organizations, so I thought, why not collaborate with the Indian Student Organization who know more Indian people, and they can probably connect better with the community than we can,” Arora told The Cauldron. 

The dance celebration took place during the nine-night festival of Navratri. Dandiya sticks were passed out to dance with. They are made of wood and wrapped in satin ribbon with a bell on end and are used during Dandiya Raas, upbeat dances originating from India, and performed during the festival. 

“Once they pray to the goddess, which they had done for about one hour, everyone dances and rejoices with dandiyas in their hands. All the songs there at the festival were all oriented to the goddess, so everyone was celebrating happiness for her after getting the blessings,” Arora said. 

According to Arora, the outcome of the night was better than expected. She said attendees were happy to dance, eat, and rejoice. They even ended the night with a dance to thank her for the event. 

“Diversity is one of the most important aspects of the Cleveland State campus and the community,” Arora said. “Diverse events bring inclusivity towards all cultures and really binds people together.” 

CAB’s next diversity event is the “Halloweek: Spook Around The World Gala” from 6 to 9 p.m. on Oct. 27 at the Fenn Tower Ballroom. The night will include music, food, and crafts that represent the spirit of Halloween around the world.

Author: Abigail Preiszig

Abigail is a current journalism student at Cleveland State University. She has knack for writing and investigation. Abigail loves creating and editing videos you can see on her YouTube channel. She enjoys reading, hiking, thrift shopping, wasting hours watching YouTube and playing with her pet hamster Pablo.