Diversity Weeks

Twice a year, once in Michaelmas and once in Hilary, members of Jesus College JCR, MCR and ACR come together to celebrate a particular festival from another culture. Each time it’s a different festival, with members from that particular culture organising a week’s worth of events ranging from language taster classes to concerts and even fireworks! Each week culminates in an authentic meal, specially prepared by our Chefs followed by a celebratory closing event in the evening, often in our college bar.

Once a year, usually in Trinity Term, the JCR also has an international week to celebrate our place in the global community and recognise the wonderful different cultures represented in the student body. Each week has multiple events, an international formal hall, and this term’s has also included a photography exhibition!

Jesus celebrates Diwali ~ Nov 2018

Jesus College celebrated Diwali 2018 with a week of festivities. This meant Bollywood movies, ‘rangolis', Hindi music and - naturally - lots of food.

A huge garland of traditional marigold flowers was hung above the gate that looks onto first quad, and various patterned designs adorned the walls that lead into hall. Later that week 'rangolis' (Indian decorations usually made from coloured powder or ground rice) could be found at the entrance near the lodge as well. On the Wednesday and Thursday of Diwali, scores of glass jars were recycled into 'diyas'. Tiny candles were placed in these, lit at nightfall, and then lined along the main walkway in first quad.

On Tuesday a 'food and movie' night was held in the JCR. Samosas, 'paani-puri' and masala chai were available, as was some sweet food - 'gulab jamun' and 'kaju katri'. No celebration would be truly complete without a Bollywood movie, and 'Slumdog Millionaire’ just edged out 'Om Shanti Om' as the chosen movie for the evening.

Thursday was the big day - that of the much awaited Diwali Formal. College served a vegetarian meal with several Indian dishes including pakoras, daal, paneer and - you guessed it - 'gulab jamun'. The Oxford South Asian Arts Society performed an Indian dance prior to the meal, and during the meal the significance of the food, and of the festival, was explained to all present.  

The celebrations wrapped up with music and poetry at Chapel on Friday. Some of us read out self-composed poetry and translated 'dohas' (traditional couplets). At the end, 'Jai Ho' , a song of triumph and celebration was played on the Chapel piano - a fitting end to a week spent celebrating the victory of good over evil.

Kamya Sankaranarayanan
PPE, 3rd year

Jesus celebrates Chinese New Year ~ Feb 2018

In the midst of British winter, Jesus College, together with the help of the Equal Opportunities committee and JCR members, celebrated Chinese New Year in true traditional fashion. The year of the pig was to be celebrated over the course of a week highlighting different aspects of Chinese culture.

Students got to take part in Calligraphy workshops ran by Chinese native students, giving way to their creativity and taking a break from essays and problem sheets. In the evenings, movie nights took place, including all genres from kung fu sagas to Chinese indie movies and beloved wildlife documentaries. The week culminated in a glorious Chinese formal where native students gathered alongside staff and college members to enjoy Asian cuisine, as well as traditional entertainment during a music interlude. Customs and traditions were explained and touched upon by various members of college who recalled their family anecdotes.

The lodge was adorned with lanterns, inscriptions and traditional banderols wishing everyone a happy new year, following on, Hall was decorated with velvet ribbons, traditional insignias. One would discover lanterns hanging on trees around college. Amongst the red and golden decorations, between two mouthfuls of raviolis, students learned about a culture that may be distant geographically but that threads across the Jesus community.

In a desire to bring together all members of our community and allowing those who are far from their loved ones to celebrate their culture, Jesus College endeavours to enlighten Turl street with cultural events from all backgrounds and communities to ensure that all members feel included and recognised.

Victoria Liu
JCR Equal Opportunities Officer 2018