Aurora, the City of Lights, to celebrate Diwali October 19



CHICAGO: The Indian American Community Outreach Advisory Board (IACOAB) of the City of Aurora is organizing its sixth Diwali celebration October 19 at the Metea Valley High School, Aurora, a southside suburb of Chicago. The event kicks off at 5.30 p.m.

The evening will feature Indian folk dances, music, food, and a display of ethnic apparel and jewelry.

Past events have attracted between 4,000 to 5,000 people. Among those expected to attend this year’s celebration are the Mayor of Aurora Richard Irwin, city officials and Illinois and US legislators.

Diwali is celebrated by millions of Hindus in India, and other countries including Nepal, Sri Lanka, Mauritius and Trinidad & Tobago.

The festival is also a big event among the Hindu expatriates living in North America and Europe and is the community’s biggest season of shopping. The festival heralds the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya, and celebrates the triumph of good over evil or light over darkness.

The IACOAB’s mission is to embrace, preserve and promote the heritage and contributions of Indian Americans while promoting civic engagement and encouraging Indian Americans to increase their involvement in Aurora’s growth.

Indians are now the largest immigrant community in Aurora, the second largest city in the state of Illinois.

At the event, certificates will also be awarded to winners of the Swami Vivekananda scholarships instituted by the board. In 2017, the IACOAB established the Swami Vivekananda scholarships meant for college-bound high school seniors, who have demonstrated exemplary community service. Swami Vivekananda, a Hindu monk, introduced Hinduism to the West with a resounding speech at the first Parliament of World Religions, in Chicago in 1893.

Most recently, the IACOAB organized an interactive Public Education and Civic Education discussion on depression and mental health problems among the young, in cooperation with Sanjeevani, an organization which assists people with mental health and domestic violence issues.

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