The Federation of India Community Associations (FICA) hosted Deepavali, The Festival of Lights, in the Rotunda of Cleveland City Hall on November 8, 2013.
Deepavali or the "festival of lights", is a five-day Hindu festival which, in the Gregorian calendar, falls between mid-October and mid-November.
According to Wikipedia, "For Hindus, Diwali is one of the most important festivals of the year and is celebrated in families by performing traditional activities together in their homes. For Jains, Diwali marks the attainment of moksha or nirvana by Mahavira in 527 BC. For Sikhs, Diwali is particularly important because it celebrates the release from prison of the sixth guru, Guru Hargobind, and 52 other princes with him, in 1619."
The name "Diwali" or "Divali" is a contraction of deepavali which translates into "row of lamps". Diwali involves the lighting of small clay lamps filled with oil to signify the triumph of good over evil. These lamps are kept on during the night and one's house is cleaned, both done in order to make the goddess Lakshmi feel welcome. Firecrackers are burst because it is believed that it drives away evil spirits.
The celebration in Cleveland began with a networking and social hour. The official program began with a welcome from FICA Board Chair Chittaranjan Jain.
Dr. Jain congratulated Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson on his election victory and thanked him for flying the Indian flag over City Hall all day. He then explained the traditions of Diwali.
Mayor Jackson spoke of the constant struggle between good and evil and how our job is to shine a light for people in keeping with the celebration of Diwali.
Mayor Frank Jackson
Federation of India Community Associations (FICA) president Asim Datta said that the goal of his event committee was to celebrate Indian culture with traditional and some new performances for both those of Indian heritage and others.
Asim introduced the first performance. Kalyani Veturi performed a traditional Kuchipudi dance (from Southern India. Item presenting is Marakatha Mani Maya, which describes lord Krishna and his attire. She performed the famous Kuchipudi brass plate dance.
Next, Classical Indian Music was performed by an ensemble of 4 musicians.
Geeta Limaye played violin, Jui Sathe played keyboard, Pinaki Chaudhuri played tabla and Sri Pasumarthy Sreekrishna played flute. This video is just part of the performance and the introductions.
Sri Pasumarthy Sreekrishna
Next, Antara Datta performed two Classical Indian Kathak Dances.
After a traditional Indian buffet dinner, the entertainment continued with some energetic modern Bollywood dances by Raj Vanket and young ladies from the Cleveland State University Bollywood group.
Raj Vanket and Cleveland State University Bollywood group
At the end of the formal program, Chittaranjan Jain, Chairman of Federation of India Community Associations (FICA), thanked FICA President Asim Datta and his committee for the wonderful celebration of Deepavali (Diwali) the Festival of Lights in the Rotunda of Cleveland City Hall.
Asim Datta and Chittaranjan Jain
See photos of the performers and attendees of the Diwali Celebration
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