Celebrating Diwali, the Festival of Lights
October 15, 2015
According to the 2010 census, people of Asian Indian origin, one of the fastest-growing minority groups in California, grew by 68 percent to 528,176 over the decade. In the San Francisco Bay area, the number grew by 53 percent to 245,493. The population fanned out from familiar neighborhoods, like Fremont and Milpitas, to affluent towns offering excellent schools from Cupertino in the heart of Silicon Valley to San Ramon in the East Bay.
As their numbers have increased, so has their cultural influence. Individuals can easily shop at the local Indian market, take tabla drum lessons, dine at excellent Indian restaurants and enjoy Bollywood DVDs.
In India, festivals and celebrations are at the heart of people’s lives. The most-celebrated Indian festival is Diwali, a five-day festival that represents the start of the Hindu New Year. It is celebrated on the 15th day of Kartika (October/November) in the Hindu calendar. It is also known as the Festival of Lights. Fireworks, small clay lamps and candles are lit during the celebration. These lights are said to represent the victory of good over evil and brightness over darkness. It’s a festival of joy, splendor, happiness and prosperity.
In the Bay Area, Cupertino is the place to be to celebrate Diwali. The Cupertino Chamber of Commerce and Asian American Business Council hosts the yearly event as Diwali marks the beginning of the new business year in India. Visitors will find a colorful and festive atmosphere with sari-festooned trees, lanterns and many activities for children and adults alike. There are performances throughout the event. The lively festivities include Indian food, craft booths, music and dance, and a traditional rangoli display. Music includes everything from classical Kathak, one of the eight forms of Indian classical dance, to popular Bollywood dances.
Join in a Diwali celebration! It’s a wonderful way to celebrate intercultural understanding and the start of the new year through music, food, dance and light.