The University of Connecticut’s Indian Students Association is hosting a lantern making night to celebrate the new year, Ritika Bajaj, Indian Students Association co-president and eighth-semester economics major, said.
On Saturday, Feb. 27 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. via Zoom, the Indian Students Association will teach 50 interested students how to build their own lanterns. The lanterns symbolize bringing light and prosperity into the upcoming year.
“Many regional New Year’s celebrations in India happen around this time as it is the harvest season. As the days are getting longer, we are getting closer to spring,” Bajaj said. “With the new year and new semester coming up, we wanted to have this lantern making event to celebrate and bring some light into our new year.”
According to the Daily Digest, interested students filled out a Google form to receive a free lantern making kit. When registering for the event, participants provided their address so that all supplies could be mailed to them, Bajaj said. The ISA limited the event to 50 students, and they have already reached that limit.
“Since we normally have events in person during the semester, we have not had to consider mailing supplies to our members,” Bajaj said. “When speaking about what we wanted to do during this unusual semester, we thought it would be a fun and safe idea to mail out supplies and do this lantern making activity together with members of our general body.”
In the Zoom meeting, members of the ISA executive board will be teaching the participants how to build the lanterns using the kits sent to them, Bajaj said. In the kits, they have provided materials to make their own designs, like decorative leaves, on the outside of the lanterns.
Bajaj said the ISA has seen other clubs do virtual bonding nights over the past two semesters with lots of success. She said she hopes their lantern night will help to capture the in-person college spirit.
“During a time like this when many UConn students are living at home and are not able to have the ‘normal’ freshman experience, we wanted to find ways to bring our general body together in a safe and fun manner,” Bajaj said. “Being able to send out materials to people and convene on Zoom allows us to still interact with new people, and do some fun activities together trying to emulate even a little bit of what we would do on campus.”
Although this event has already reached its limit, the ISA will be hosting another “build your own” event in March, Bajaj said. Signups will be available on their Facebook page and Instagram bio, @Uconnisa. All of their events are open to any UConn student, not just ISA members.
“We are so excited to continue doing events such as these as a way to gather our members and spread our Indian culture to the community,” Bajaj said.