Diwali celebration

The Hindu Society, with the Global Lounge, bring you a warm and welcoming virtual celebration of Diwali

Wednesday 11 November

Diwali, commonly known as the ‘Festival of Lights’, lasts between 4 to 5 days and, like Chinese New Year or Lunar New Year, follows the ‘lunar calendar’ meaning that the date changes each year.


Diwali, in itself, is a celebration of the idea of India. Everyone celebrates for different reasons.’

This year, the Bristol Hindu Society celebrated Diwali with a virtual event which was open to all, introducing the festival to those who may not know much about it, whilst allowing those who would normally celebrate with family and loved ones the opportunity to come together and celebrate online. Akash, president of the Bristol Hindu Society, introduced the event, kicking things off with a beautiful Aarti – a type of prayer which the society typically start their events off with.

Akash went onto explain that while there may be many possible origins of Diwali, the core essence remains the same: ‘the victory of good over evil, and of knowledge over ignorance,’ going on to say that it is also not a festival ‘limited only to Hinduism and Hindus’ but that ‘Diwali, in itself, is a celebration of the idea of India. Everyone celebrates for different reasons.’

Some typical features of celebrating Diwali include:

  • lighting diyas – an oil lamp usually made from clay
  • fireworks – to guide the spirits of ancestors
  • rangolis – patterns made of coloured sand or crushed flowers to beautify the house and a sign to welcome visitors

‘Who needs measuring spoons when you have your hands!’

After the introduction to Diwali students talked about how it’s felt not being able to celebrate with loved ones at home this year, and shared with each other how they were celebrating Diwali during lockdown, which included dinner with housemates, Bollywood music and movies, and eating / making homemade sweets!

Students also shared with each other how they would usually celebrate with family – with a large focus on food, including an insight into Indian cooking and a mother’s tip when it comes to recipes: “Who needs measuring spoons when you have hands!”

The community-feeling really shone through during these conversations and even for those who don’t celebrate Diwali, it was a wonderful insight into this annual celebration.

‘Wear Indian clothes just to get into the feel of it. At Christmas people wear Christmas jumpers, so in the same way, wear some Indian clothing to get in the mood.’

Students ended the event by giving tips on how you can celebrate Diwali at home, including:

  • watching popular Indian movies (Kabhi Kushi Kabhi Gum is recommended!)
  • buying or making homemade sweets
  • lighting sparklers
  • celebrating virtually with family and loved-ones
  • having a go at cooking Indian food that you would normally have with family – or – treating yourself and ordering online
  • wearing some traditional Indian clothing to get you into the mood and playing some music
  • using candles or fairy lights to decorate your spaces at home

Check out the full event here, and be inspired to make Diwali just as special this year – where ever you are!

NHSF Bristol Hindu Society:

Check out their Freshers’ Guide 2020

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Namaste! Join us in celebrating Diwali, in collaboration with Bristol Hindu Society!

This year the Global Lounge brings you a virtual celebration of the Festival of Lights, alongside representatives from the Bristol Hindu Society and guest speaker!

This interactive event will be led by students, as they share their experiences and knowledge of this annual festivity.

Join in here on Zoom.

This event is open to all students and staff – home and international.

Hindu Society Diwali hamper

The Hindu Society is preparing hampers for people who want to celebrate Diwali but are away from their families – Diwali is normally a time to be at home and celebrate with loved ones and this year many will be celebrating alone for the first time.

If you would like to order a hamper – costing ÂŁ6.99 – you can do so via the Bristol SU website. Limited hampers are available; please order by Wednesday 11 November.

Day of the Dead

Join the Mexican Culture Society in celebrating Day of the Dead!

Guest speakers will deliver live and interactive presentations exploring this annual festivity. The programme of events includes:

  • 17:30 to 18:00 – Briefing
  • 18:00 to 18:05 – Welcome from the Global Lounge
  • 18:05 to 18:15 – Introduction to the Festivity
  • 18:15 to 18:30 –  Celebrations in San Lorenzo Tenzonco
  • 18:30-18:45 –  El Xantolo
  • 18:45-19:00 – La Catrina
  • 19:00-19:15 – How to cook “Pan de Muerto”
  • 19:15-19:30 – How to cook “Tamales” 
  • 19:30 -19:45 – Calaveritas Literarias
  • 19:45 – end of the event

Each talk will last around 15 minutes; participants can simply sit back, relax and listen – or get more involved in the chat while finding out more about this cultural celebration!

Join in the event on Zoom.

Meeting password: 387206


The Mexican Culture Society at the University of Bristol aims to:

  • Involve the student community with Mexican traditions via cultural events
  • Strengthen the integration of the Mexican community at the University via social events
  • Promote Mexican culture, history, art, literature and scientific research within the University of Bristol student community.


Our Music, Black Music

The Global Lounge has partnered with the BME Network to invite you to Our Music, Black Music, as part of Black History Month.


Join in with this virtual exploration of Black music, from rock to neo-soul to highlife. Hosted by students, in collaboration with Black cultural societies, they’ll take you on a musical journey – all you need to do is sit back, enjoy the music and cast your vote on which host you think has won each genre during this interactive live DJ set!


To join in with this event, simply head to @bristol_su on Instagram live at 6 pm.


This event is part of Black History Month. Check out the full programme of events on the SU website and follow the BME Network on Facebook and Instagram.


A statement from Khadija Meghrawi, Chair of the BME Network at Bristol University, about Black History Month:


“Black History is far too neglected and should be represented all year around. The purpose of this month is both to empower Black students and to refocus the energy on how to be an active ally, equipping non-Black students with the tools to educate themselves and question the structures around them. These discussions are particularly relevant in Bristol, which is facing the challenge of ensuring that Colston’s statue being taken down is not where the activism ends.”


Cultural Societies Games Night

Join the BME Network in getting to know the University’s cultural societies by taking part in a bit of friendly competition!

They’re infamous for their games nights, but even if Fish Pong and banana-eating contests can’t happen in-person right now, there will be plenty of weird and wonderful games to keep you entertained!

Book your place to attend this event.

The BME Network exists to provide a safe space within the University of Bristol Students’ Union for self-identifying BME students on campus, and encourages empowerment for our communities through BME-led action and campaigns.

Find out more about the BME Network and what they do on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

You can also check out their full programme of events for Black History Month on the Bristol SU website.

Global Carnival 2020

An evening of entertainment and activities from across the globe for students and staff!

On Wednesday 11 March, over two hundred students and staff gathered to enjoy an annual showcase of dance and music performances, organised by the Global Lounge in collaboration with Bristol Students’ Union and International Students’ Network.

Trying something new

There was something for everyone to enjoy with a range of craft and activity stalls followed by a diverse programme of performances from across the globe.

Visitors could try their hand at origami making, solve Palestinian folklore riddles and see beautiful examples of traditional outfits from the Friends of Palestine society. There were also Lebanese food samples to taste and food samples and games from the Mexican Culture Society. The delicious vegan Thai curry was a hit – served to all guests as part of the festivities!

Fantastic performances

Lion dance

The show started off with the Lion Dance Troop who made a spectacular entrance into the Anson Rooms, getting up close to the seated audience.

The all-male group, Academy A Capella, impressed everyone with their rendition of Toxic by Britney Spears. They reached the UK finals last year and are focusing their efforts on releasing a debut album.

Siddarth Sreekanth performing Indian drumming

First-year Economics and Politics student Siddarth Sreekanth kept things upbeat with some fantastic Indian drumming. Originally from Bangalore, he performed on an instrument called the Mridangam (muh-ruh-dang-um), which is a percussion instrument used in Carnatic Music, which is a form of Indian classical music.

Gospel choir

Changing things up, the next act on stage was a collaboration between PakSoc and BanglaSoc – a fashion show which gave the audience a taste of their culture’s traditional clothing combined with popular music straight from Pakistan and Bangladesh. The lively performance featured beautiful outfits such as shalwar kamiz, longi and shervani with the models showing off the outfits whilst making fun poses and dancing along to their favourite songs!

The Gospel Choir were up next – a group of individuals who enjoy singing and praising God together. Their beautiful vocals and harmonies impressed all who were in the room.

Hosts, Roy and Lara broke things up with an interactive quiz, asking members of the audience to tell everyone what things they like about their own culture and also what they enjoy about others. There was great participation with many raising their hands to give their answers – most of which revolved around food!

The evening was rounded off with a Qawwali performance, which uses semi-classical Asian singing techniques and rhythmic clapping. This group is the UK’s first university-born qawwali group, called Virsa Qawwali.