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Joint Celebration of Jewish and Indian Festivals
to Be Held at UW-Eau Claire Nov. 26

RELEASED: Nov. 14, 2007

EAU CLAIRE — A joint celebration of the Hindu holiday of Diwali and the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah will be held at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire from 7-8:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 26, in the Council Fire Room of Davies Center.

burning candlesAccording to Helaine Minkus, associate professor of anthropology in UW-Eau Claire's department of geography and anthropology, both holidays are festivals of light, and lighting candles and lamps is a prominent feature of both. Diwali is celebrated for five days and is one of the most important Hindu holidays, complete with prayers to the goddesses Laksmi and Kali, gift giving, and festive meals. Hanukkah is celebrated for eight days but is a minor holiday in the Jewish religious calendar.

Minkus said that although Hanukkah is not an important religious holiday, it carries an essential message that is still very relevant: each ethnic or religious group has the right to maintain its own culture and religious tradition.

Speakers will explain the cultural and religious significance of Diwali and Hanukkah. Members of both cultures who grew up in different countries will talk about how the holiday is celebrated in their homeland and what it means to them to celebrate it. Folk songs and dances will be taught.

Admission is free and all ages are invited. There will be a special area where children can play the Hanukkah game of dreidl.

The event is sponsored by UW-Eau Claire's Center for International Education, University Activities Commission, Jewish Student Association, Temple Sholom and India Abroad Association.

For further information, contact Minkus at 715-836-5481.

-30-

HM/NW

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