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Diwali bash in downtown Manhattan

Last updated on: October 5, 2009 16:27 IST

Diwali bash in downtown Manhattan

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India came alive at the South Street Seaport, downtown Manhattan, on October 4. 

The occasion was Deepavali or Diwali, the festival signifying the victory of good over evil. 

Click NEXT to see more glimpses of the annual festival... 


Image: The fireworks display lasted 20 minutes over the Seaport
Photographs: Paresh Gandhi
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Organised by the Association of Indians in America, the annual celebration showcased the depth, complexity and beauty of Indian culture and heritage.

Diwali, is one of the most important festivals of the Hindu year. It celebrates the return of Lord Rama from his 14 years of exile, and like many other Hindu festivals it is celebrated in as many fashions as there are people who celebrate it.

 


Image: A cultural performance

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Diwali bash in downtown Manhattan

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Traditionally, lamps of all sorts are a common sight during the 'festival of lights', as are fireworks and firecrackers. Besides celebrating the victory of good over evil and light over darkness, the little flickering lights also provide refuge and solace in the face of the approaching winter.

The highlights of the celebrations at the South Street Seaport included traditional folk and classical dance performances, arts and crafts and a children's area.

 


Image: A Bharatanatyam performance

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Diwali bash in downtown Manhattan

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The festival also comprised Q&A sessions about Indian culture and exhibitions.

The children's area was equipped with a range of activities like painting and games. For the Indian Diaspora, the event is the only means to enjoy Diwali and help their children adapt to the tradition of this glorious festival.

 


Image: Indian community throngs the food stalls

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Diwali bash in downtown Manhattan

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The Diwali Mela has been a constant fixture at the South Street Seaport for 20 years, with the exception of 2001 when the organisers decided to shelve the celebrations as a mark of respect to and solidarity with the victims of the 9/11 terrorist strikes. 

Food stalls sold affordable treats from different regions of India. Mouth-watering foods, including chaats, pakodas, dosas and gulaab jamuns, were in plenty to satisfy cravings.

 


Image: Steaming hot gulaab jamuns at a stall

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Diwali bash in downtown Manhattan

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Additionally, there were stalls of Indian handicrafts and other trinkets, set up to let people go on a little shopping spree.

The exhibition area highlighted India's technological growth and economic reforms, as well as contemporary Indian art.

 


Image: Indian girls check out trinkets at a stall

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Diwali bash in downtown Manhattan

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At nightfall, the celebrations were signed off with spectacular firework display lasting 20 minutes over the East River at Pier 16.

 


Image: A 'sparkling' conclusion

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