Members from Ridgefield’s South Asian community came together to celebrate India’s biggest festival – Diwali, also known as the Festival Of Lights. The celebration which was held on October 28th, marked the 10th anniversary of what has now become an annual tradition. Diwali, which outside of India is often referred to as ‘Indian Christmas’, symbolizes the triumph of knowledge over ignorance and good over evil. It denotes the end of darkness.
The event which was held at the Royal Palace in White Plains, NY was truly a treat to all the senses. Almost 150 members, both young and old gathered together wearing their traditional best. Splashes of vibrant color graced every corner and the room became a beacon of light, full of laughter. Music played intermittently in the background, softly enough to not disturb the chatter. Fragrances of cardamom and curry filled the air as waiters brought out a spread of Indian vegetarian dishes trailed by dessert.
The evening started with paying respect to both the American and Indian National Anthems followed by wonderful singing and instrumental routines by children from ages 4 to 14. They continued to share their cultural knowledge and skills through a skit as well as Bollywood and Indian classical dance performances. The grand finale of the evening, however, was an inspiring dance feat by a group of spirited women who danced to popular Indian movie tunes that spanned several decades.
Diwali is a festival that every Indian all over the world looks forward to and just as we create and preserve traditions for Thanksgiving, Christmas and more, Ridgefield’s South Asian fraternity hopes to keep this tradition alive in the hearts of generations to come.
“It brings immense joy to participate in the same traditions as I did when growing up,” said Kavitha Ramakanth, a resident, and member of the organizing committee. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to gather with friends and inculcate these traditions in our children.”
Each guest left that night with a gift bag consisting of lamps, Indian sweets, and hand-made bookmarks. Their feet may have been tired from the dancing, but their spirits soared high for they had bridged the gap between the home they left behind and the land they now call home. Although half a world away from India, the Ridgefield Indian community has found a way to make the distance shorter and their worlds just a little bit larger.