NEW YORK: The iconic Empire State Building was lit up in orange hues as New York City celebrated Diwali on Sunday.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Deputy Commissioner of International Affairs Dilip Chauhan celebrated the ‘festival of lights’ with people of the Hindu community at the Bhakti Center, the oldest Hindu temple in Manhattan.
In June, Eric Adams announced the popular Hindu festival Diwali as a school holiday in New York City.
The Federation of Indian Associations (FIA) of the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, the leading umbrella community organisation in the US, partnered with the Empire State Building to illuminate the iconic Manhattan building for the festival.
At the Hindu Community Diwali celebration, over 1500 people gathered to celebrate at the Bhakti Center temple in Manhattan.
“Happy Diwali! It was a beautiful experience here, and I welcome anyone not only during Diwali but any time of the year. Come here and renew your energy,” the NY City mayor Eric Adams told ANI.
On being asked if he has any message for the world on the occasion, he said, “So important to spread our light throughout the entire globe. Not only on Diwali but all the time.”
The community of the US Embassy in India also celebrated Diwali with US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti on Sunday with festive lights, sweets, and rangoli.
The US Embassy in India shared on social media X, a video showing the US embassy community celebrating the festival in Indian attire, making rangolis and decorating the embassy.
US Envoy to India, Eric Garcetti expressed his joy and said, “Thank you to the entire US Embassy community here in New Delhi. You make life full of light every single day. We can’t wait to celebrate and bring the light in through singing and dancing.”
Earlier on Thursday, New York State Senator Kevin Thomas joined US Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, at their Diwali celebrations on Wednesday.
“It was an honour to celebrate Diwali with @VP Kamala Harris in D.C. tonight. May your Diwali be free from darkness and abundant with light. Happy Diwali!!” New York State Senator Thomas posted on social media platform X.
Addressing the event, Harris said that the festival of Diwali is being celebrated at a time when there is a lot happening in the world.
“We celebrate Diwali at a time when there is a lot happening in the world. And I think it’s important that as we celebrate Diwali, which is about celebrating the light we understand, it is always the context of understanding…and there is certainly a difficult moment we are facing…in particular the reports coming out of Israel and Gaza and I know for all of us it’s devastating and Heartbreaking” US Vice President said.
Moreover, earlier this week, the Deputy Commissioner at the New York City Mayor’s office, Dilip Chauhan, lauded the historic development of observing Diwali as a public school holiday for the first time in its history.
Chauhan highlighted the significance of this decision, attributing it to years of dedicated advocacy by the Indian diaspora and the Indian-American community. Chauhan said that the Indian diaspora has worked really hard to achieve success in this initiative and said, “Diwali means the festival of light over darkness”.
He said, “This year Diwali is so significant, first time in the history of New York City, Mayor Eric Adams has declared Diwali as a public holiday in the school of New York City, after years of advocacy…Indian diaspora, Indian-American community…they have worked hard for this initiative. On Diwali, our children don’t need to go to school, they can spend time at home with their family and visit religious places and celebrate with the community.” (ANI)