Diwali Festival lights up Alameda county fairgrounds, Pleasanton

1FREMONT: Bay Area’s popular fair destination, Alameda County Fairgrounds, Pleasanton transformed into a vision of South Asian culture on Saturday, as thousands of revelers gathered for an early celebration of Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. It was attended by over 15,000 of Indian Americans and other Bay Area residents.

Diwali, also known as Deepavali, is the biggest and most important holiday in India. It lasts for five days, and coincides with the Hindu New Year. Hindus, Jains, Buddhists and Sikhs celebrate the religious occasion every autumn in countries throughout South Asia and beyond. Diwali, also known as the Festival of Lights, marks the time of year when Hindus symbolically cast away evil and invite good and prosperity with the light of lamps and candles. Where darkness represents evil to Hindus, lighting the lamp is a metaphor for the attainment of knowledge and symbolizes the destruction of negative attitudes and behaviors.

IMG 1Federation of Indo-Americans of Northern California hosted its Annual Diwali Festival at the Fairgrounds on Saturday October 7 from 11 am till 10 pm, culminating in a spectacular display of Fireworks sponsored by US Bank. A beautiful day attracted large number of visitors to the Diwali fair which has earned the reputation of being one of the most anticipated events of the Indian American community’s annual list of attractions.

“The turnout was phenomenal”, said Dr. Romesh Japra, Chairman of FIA. The event was attended by a wide array of people from different walks of life, age groups and backgrounds and coming from various parts of the Bay area and surrounding counties. It signifies the triumph of ‘Good over Evil’.

The FIA attempts to bridge the gap in the community with events as Deepavali and brings the community together. The festival was a full day celebration with numerous corporate booths, food and clothing vendors, performances and activities for the entire family including a live grand and spectacular display of fireworks, said Dr Japra.

IMG 2The action-packed day started with live entertainment such as dance competition and Ram Leela. The performers, dressed in bold colors with ornate decorations, executed precise movements as they moved to the beat. The purpose of this festival is to get together and celebrate intercultural understanding that promotes economic and cultural prosperity.

Over 80 dance groups participated in the competition and it was coordinated by Jyotsna Bendapudi Sharma, FOG, Cultural Chair.

Vidya Sethuraman
India Post News Service

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