Buchmuller Park will be awash with the sights, sounds, and smells of India on Sunday, Oct. 13, starting at noon, when the Indian Caucus of Secaucus sponsors its fourth annual Diwali Mela, or “Festival of Lights.”
The free, all-day celebration will feature a full slate of events, including cultural performances, a disc jockey, children’s activities, and authentic Indian cuisine. Vendors of all types will be selling their various souvenirs and wares. There will also be contests, door prizes, and more.
“This is our biggest event all over the world,” said Rajesh Nagpal, Indian Caucus of Secaucus member.
“Diwali is a festival of the reaffirmation of hope.” – Sheetal Nagpal
Diwali is the combination of two Sanskrit words, “deepa” meaning “light,” and “avali” meaning “a row,” explained Nagpal.
“Every home – be it a hut or a mansion – in India is lit up with the rich glow of twinkling earthen lamps,” she said. “This lighting of lamps symbolizes the dispelling of fear and darkness, and the spiritual awareness of the ‘inner light.’ The rich glow of twinkling earthen lamps also symbolize the welcoming of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity.”
History and legends
The legend of Diwali centers upon the return of Lord Rama from his 14-year exile to the forest, according to Nagpal. Upon his arrival at the city of Ayodhya, there appeared a garden of lights that night, as all the townspeople came out to greet him in a ceremonial manner.
Diwali also heralds the beginning of the Hindu financial year.
The festival spans five days, with each one having its own relevance and significance – and with a number of myths, legends and beliefs associated with them.
Neighborliness & bonding
In India, a big part of the celebration is the “bursting of crackers,” where people meet friends and neighbors to exchange good wishes and sweets.
“The bursting of crackers is today the most important and eagerly awaited part of the Diwali celebrations,” Nagpal said.
The festival is also celebrated as a way of strengthening the bond between brothers and sisters, she said.
Nagpal summed up the observance in a few words.
“Diwali is a celebration of our ‘true’ self, and the way of life which we need to continue year after year,” she said.
To find out more
For more information, visit www.Facebook.com/IndianCaucusofSecaucus or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call Nagpal at (201) 936-1080; Amish Bhavsar, (201) 315-7848; Namrita Changlani, (201) 401-6053; Sanchita Datta, (253) 315-3197; Raj Pardasani, (201) 982-3464; or Devanshi Parikh, (201) 686-2276.
Joseph Passantino may be reached at JoePass@hudsonreporter.com.