On Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020, New Yorkers got to experience Diwali at the Crossroads of the World- Times Square. But in this pandemic era, it was a digital presentation with a massive lighted billboard changing images symbolic of the Festival of Lights, in an attempt to capture the pomp and festivity of this joyous celebration. The event was organized by EventGuru Inc., an event management company in the Tristate area.
Diwali greetings and a message from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi were also relayed over the huge billboards. Indian American Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris was also represented, followed by Diwali greetings from the Consulate of India, NY, Air India, Eye Foundation of America. Celebrities and various other community organizations were displayed on the tallest tower of Times Square, the tower where the December 31st New Year’s ball drop ceremony takes place.
A visual ‘Diya (lamp) Lighting’ ceremony was accompanied by a New Year’s Eve style countdown featured on the tallest Times Square digital screens, followed by a host of rousing concerts.
A live feed for global viewers and on social media platforms featured some renowned musicians from the USA and India, a press release from EventGuru said.
“You have witnessed a whole new version of Diwali at Times Square this year,” Neeta Bhasin, president of EventGuru Inc. and the ‘mastermind’ behind Diwali At Times Square Festival, is quoted saying in the press release as her opening remarks before commencing the event this year.
“The ongoing Pandemic has made us all realize that certain things can be felt and enjoyed even while being at home. With your support, we still managed to light up a Diya on the tallest screen in Times Square and are celebrating Diwali with viewers from not only the USA but around the world!” Bhasin enthused.
Several dignitaries in New York visited the Times Square site to witness the show, including the inauguration by Randhir Jaiswal, Consul General of India, New York. Among others who joined the event were Kamal Raul, regional manager, Air India, V. Senthur Kumaran, assistant director, India Tourism, as well as community supporters and the media.
The festival continued on Diwali at Times Square Social Media platforms till November 14th, the actual day of Diwali, including a virtual, musical concert on November 13 titled ‘Colors of India’ – a coming together of Indian talent representing Indian Americans living in various parts of the United States.
The celebration culminated with a virtual ‘Light-Up Times Square’ concert with renowned Indian performers like Padma Shri Usha Uthup, Hamsika Iyer, Merlin D’Souza, Pritha Majumder, Jankee and Sunita Bhuyan, who put together a special show.
Diwali at Times Square is contributing 10% of the proceeds of the ‘Diya Lighting’ sponsorship to the musicians of India, the press release said.
Those interested can watch Diwali at Times Square special shows on the various social media handles:
‘Neeta Bhasin Show’ YouTube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxOgeG8CPnZPd6y02Wvwqfg