Dave Katz/Staff Photographer Members of Binghamton University’s Indian Graduate Student Organization perform traditional dances in their annual Diwali celebration Saturday night. Diwali, also known as the “Festival of Lights,” is considered one of the most important festivals of the year in India.

Students celebrated Diwali, an Indian “Festival of Lights,” at an annual event hosted by the Hindu Student Council (HSC) Saturday.

“It is a time for everyone to appreciate things we take for granted in our daily lives and realize how lucky we are,” said Shilp Dalal, vice president of HSC.

Diwali, celebrated by performing traditional rituals and ceremonies, is considered one of the most important festivals of the year in India.

“The major significance of Diwali is the victory of good over evil and the inner awareness to become better as human beings,” said Dalal, a junior majoring in integrative neuroscience.

Gauravi Patil, president of HSC and a junior majoring in integrative neuroscience, said Diwali is a time to be thankful.

“Diwali is when family, friends, and neighbors come together to contemplate and thank god for the life they have,” Patil wrote in an email.

According to Patil, Diwali is celebrated by Jains, Hindus and Sikhs, each for a different reason.

“For Jains it is important because Lord Mahavira attained nirvana during this time,” Patil wrote. “For Sikhs it is important because it rejoices the time when the sixth Sikh guru, Guru Hargobind Singh was released from his imprisonment. For Hindus it is the time when Lord Ram returns from his fourteen yearlong banishment from his home town of Ayodhya by his father. The people of Ayodhya light diyas (little oil lamps) in rows to guide Rama, Sita and Lakshman back from the forest.”

This year, the Hindu Student Council teamed up with the Binghamton Sikh Association for the first time to host the annual event.

The banquet featured dinner catered by Moghul, an Indian restaurant in University Plaza, and performances by Binghamton Bhangra and Binghamton Masti.

“The atmosphere was very colorful and filled with life,” Patil wrote. “We has streamers and colorful outfits and food from a very good restaurant.”

About 100 people attended the Diwali banquet, one of the largest attendances HSC has seen over the years.

“I think the event was very successful, we have never had such a huge outcome and everyone enjoyed themselves,” Patil wrote.

Dalal said he thought the banquet went well and that he was impressed by the diversity of people in attendance.

“Both Hindu Student Council and Binghamton Sikh Association worked very hard to make it a great success,” he said. “I really liked how the people that showed up were from all different types of cultures. This shows how open-minded the students at this university are and that is a very encouraging and pleasant thing to know.”