NEW YORK – The Association of Indians in America, NY Chapter (AIA-NY) hosted its 30th annual Deepavali Festival at the South Street Seaport, on October 1, culminating with a spectacular display of fireworks.
The weather was beautiful and according to police estimate, approximate 100,000 people visited the event and enjoyed the festivities.
Deepavali, meaning ‘a row of lamps’ is also popularly known as Diwali, or ‘Festival of Lights’. It signifies the triumph of ‘Good over Evil’. The AIA-NY attempts to bridge the gap in the community with events such as Deepavali and bring the community together.
The festival was a full-day celebration with numerous corporate booths, food and clothing vendors, performances and activities for the entire family.
This was a special year, as it was the 30th anniversary of the Deepavali Festival and 50th anniversary of AIA. Although the festival caters to all ages, the emphasis recently has shifted more towards youth, as their involvement is considered essential for the longevity of the association. With that objective in mind, Gobind Munjal, the current President of AIA-NY launched a youth wing earlier this year called “Desi Next” geared towards younger generation.
Towards that goal, British celebrity singer/songwriter Jay Sean was invited to perform and rocked the stage. Also, a Canadian-born singer/songwriter “The PropheC” was an added attraction this year. This was in addition to the Inter Collegiate Dance Competition “Naach Inferno”, which has been an attraction for the past couple of years.
The dancers of SHIAMAK USA involved everyone in a participatory dance at the end of the festival.
“AIA’s goal to incorporate more young adults into the mainstream activities of the community was accomplished,” said Munjal.
Authentic Indian cuisine, a holistic health fair, in addition to a showcase of culture, arts, crafts, jewelry, traditional clothes, were some of the highlights this year. Corporate sponsors such as Cheapoair, Qatar Airways, Toyota, PepsiCo, New York Life, Kotak Mahindra Bank and many more were present.
The AIA is the oldest not-for-profit organization of Asian Indians in America founded on August 20, 1967.