Diwali Celebrated in Grand Style at New York City’s Times Square
Thousands of people came out to celebrate Diwali at Times Square, including a large number of Indian Americans. (photo provided)
India-West Staff Reporter
Diwali was celebrated at New York City’s Times Square with a raging comeback after two years of COVID-19 lockdown, as thousands of people participated in the brightest celebration ever, according to a press release.
Conceptualized by Event Guru and managed by ASB Communications, the successful event was attended by some of the highest-ranking government officials and dignitaries in the business world.
Neeta Bhasin, president of EventGuru Inc., said, “We are sharing the message of Deepavali – knowledge over ignorance, light over darkness, peace, love, unity and togetherness, and inclusion in diversity – to the world from the biggest crossroads of the world, Times Square. Even the universe responded in appreciation by keeping the weather conducive to the event despite forecasts of rain throughout the day.”
The event was hosted by Aryan Vaid, winner of the Mr. International Award; Vidhi Dave, Mrs. India USA; and Esha Kode, Miss Teen India Worldwide.
The celebrations, noted the release, began with a traditional diya (lamp) lighting ceremony followed by dazzling performances by Darshana Menon, the “Sa Re Ga Ma 2009” winner; Arya Dance Academy, Sadhanalya Dance Academy and Masala Bhangra.
A ‘Light Up Times Square’ concert started at 5 p.m. and was made more luminous by the fact that the Diwali countdown on the ball drop screen created history at Times Square, added Bhasin.
This was followed by dignitaries speaking on the Times Square stage, who included Consul General of India in New York Randhir Jaiswal, New York state Governor Kathleen Courtney Hochul, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, New York state Senator John Liu, Gajendra Suri and Beena Kothari from Samman for All; ShopRite’s Ranjana Choudhry, Thomas Rajan from American Airlines, Harry Singh Bolla of Bolla Oil Corp, H.R. Shah, chairman of TV Asia, and other sponsors of the festival.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi sent his Diwali message: “Heartiest greetings and best wishes for the celebration of Diwali, the Festival of Lights organized at Times Square in New York. The celebration will help spread our rich traditions and culture in different parts of the world. Carrying the eternal message of victory of light over darkness and truth over untruth may this auspicious occasion further spread peace, happiness, and prosperity in the lives of every member of the Indian diaspora in the USA.”
Sen. Schumer, in his comments, said: “I believe in immigration in general. My middle name is actually Ellis, it is Charles ‘Ellis’ Schumer from Ellis Island. Immigrants have great American values while still remembering the traditions and bringing them to America from their home countries. One of the best and the greatest immigrant communities is our Indian American community, our South Asian community. We must welcome more Indians to come to America and New York.”
Some of the front-line fighters in the Covid battle like Officer Manish Sharma, president of the Indian Police Society (NYPD); Dr. Samin K. Sharma of Mount Sinai Heart; and Dr. Jagmohan Kalra and Dr. Sunjit Jaspal from Northwell Health, were honored on stage.
The festival included performances by famous artists like Sparsh Shah, Sway Bhatia, Chosen Crew Entertainment Group, Swarali Dance, the Jikaria Sisters, and DJ Ash and finally ended with a blast with an amazing performance by international artist Jay Sean.