With the festive Diwali right around the corner on Oct. 26, many New England Indian-American organizations and groups are gearing up to celebrate the big day with events that bring the community together for the dazzling "Festival of Lights."
In the United States, Diwali is a festival celebrated with exuberance and for many groups is one of the biggest holidays of the year.
Though Diwali means different things to different people it has become synonymous with fun without a doubt. For people in Northern India Diwali marks the end of one year and the beginning of another; for South Indians it can commemorate the conquering of the king of Assam.
Whatever specific meaning individuals derive from Diwali, event planning is carried out with gusto as a means to strengthen bonds between various religious denominations, keeping alive the spirit each Diwali season ushers in.
Whether on the day itself or around Diwali, across New England there are numerous options for celebrating the holiday, but some groups are notorious for their large Diwali gatherings. The plan for all is much food, music and dance.
In New Hampshire, the always-busy Indian Association of New Hampshire does not slack on when it comes to the Diwali. The group will be celebrating "Diwali and Garba 2011" on Saturday, Oct. 19 from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. at Nashua North High School. With a $10 admission for all and $5 admission for IANH members, the event will feature Diwali staples in a festive environment and an expected large turnout, as it common at all organization events.
Northern neighbor Maine will get into the Festival of Lights mood with an event from the India Association of Maine on Nov. 19 from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at Cape Elizabeth Middle School in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. The event includes dance performances, such as bharatnatyam, dandiya and Bollywood styles. Kids will also be on display signing bhajans and performing their own dance numbers. Various dinner and appetizer options are available as well.
In Massachusetts, among the many Diwali highlights is NetSAP's annual event to be held this year on Nov. 4 at 8 p.m. at the Taj Boston Hotel. The event features an Indian dinner from Taj Boston's top chef, drinks, dancing, casino games and prizes.
In Connecticut, the India Association of Greater Hartford gets in the act with "Diwali 2011: Naya Andaaz Bollywood Nite" to be held on Nov. 5 at Windsor Middle School in Windsor, Conn. The lineup for the day includes a social hour from 12 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.; a cultural program from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.; a dinner from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.; and a musical performances starting at 7:30 p.m.
Other events include:
- The Telegu Association of Greater Boston's "Deepavali Celebrations" on Nov. 19 from 3 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Marlborough Middle School in Marlborough, Mass. For info, visit www.tagb.org.
- "Diwali Dhamaka," a dinner/dance celebration presented by Khatta Mitha Indian Cuisine & Sweets/Ming III Pan-Asian Cuisine. The event features food, dancing and Bollywood music by Din Check. It will be held on Oct. 29 from 7 p.m. to midnight at The Lantana in Randolph, Mass.
- Diwali Braj Mandir on Oct. 26 and Oct. 27 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the Braj Mandir in Holbrook, Mass. For info visit: www.sriradhabhakti.org.
- VYO Boston celebrates "Diwali Annakut Mahotsav?" on Oct. 29 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Central Baptist Church in Chelmsford, Mass. For info, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The United India Association of New England will hold its "Diwali Mela 2011" on Nov. 6 from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Charles E. Brown Middle School in Newton, Mass. Event includes: Diwali puja, a cultural program, a fashion show, standup comedy, shopping stalls, food stalls, children's activities, and dinner with live music and karaoke. For info, email email@example.com.
- Chinmaya Mission Boston will hold its annual Diwali banquet on Nov. 5 from 5 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Wyndham Boston Andover Hotel in Andover, Mass. Event will include live music and all proceeds from this event will go towards the reduction of the mortgage loan of Chinmaya Mission Boston. For info visit: www.chinmaya-boston.com.