By Sariah Lake
On Dec 2nd, the Essex Hindu Society transformed the Ivor Crewe Hall in preparation for the Chaand Sitaara Ball. Guests arrived on a red carpet leading to a balloon-arch photo wall.
The night was catered with the purchase of a meal-included ticket, the menu was made up of Punjabi samosa, pakora, chole, butter paneer, naan, jeera rice, and gulab jamun. Aside from food, the evening began with Lakshmi Aarti, a Hindu prayer which is a crucial part of every Diwali celebration.
Due to unforeseen circumstances, the event was delayed but still hoped to keep the Diwali spirit even after it had passed.
Guests also played bingo before watching a series of dance performances. The dances were a collaborative effort, with execs getting involved as well. The Hindu society presented the girl’s Punjabi dance, followed by the Mallu society’s dance, Tamil society’s dance, and then the final closing dance by the Hindu society.
The night ended with music, celebration, and dancing with a mini desi for guests. Everyone took to the dance floor and photo sections, mingling and laughing the rest of the night away.
This is the Hindu society’s largest-scale event since its founding in 2021.
Arryan Saini, Hindu Society co-founder and president, developed this society in his first year at Essex alongside Gaurash Sharma. The society is affiliated with NHSF (National Hindu Students Forum) which works alongside Hindu societies in universities across the UK.
The intention of the society is to “create a place where everyone could come together and celebrate the festivals and teach people about unity and diversity” according to Arryan. The pair of founders started from small beginnings, needing to collect 20 student signatures and PRIDs and working alongside NHSF to fully form the society.
Their first meet and greet started with 10 people which grew to 150 in the next year due to the hard work of the committee members.
Throughout their time, the Holi event brought out 1,000 attendees and their Instagram page (@essexhindusociety) has gained 876 followers.
“Creating a society (in the practical sense) is easy, but managing, maintaining, and building it up from ground zero is more difficult.” Gia Pereira, social media officer shared. Gia has found that taking a more personalised approach to social media marketing and event sharing makes a big difference in society growth and outreach.
The committee shared that their expectations were surpassed by the support from students on campus.
“Our society is a home away from home, bringing everyone closer and becoming one big family.” Priya Patel, first-year representative shared, pushing the group’s message of impact over numbers and the need for community.
The current society executives are as follows: Arryan Saini (president), Manas Kakkar (Vice President), Gauransh Sharma (General Advisor), Harita (Treasurer), Gia Pereira (Social Media Manager), Aayushi (Welfare Officer), Riya Patel (Events Coordinator), Priya Patel (First Year Rep), and Jivika Vikamshi (Artistic Director).
Moving forward from this large-scale event, the Essex Hindu Society has many exciting plans to bring to campus in the upcoming year and hopes to welcome both practising Hindus and those from other religious and cultural backgrounds. Among these upcoming events are the grand games night, girls’ night in, mandem night, and more. Make sure to stay involved with their social media so you don’t miss anything!