EDISON – The township is holding its first Diwali Festival.
The event will take place from noon to 8 p.m. at Papaianni Park, 100 Municipal Blvd., Oct. 22.
“It’s a historic milestone to celebrate Diwali as a township for the first time,” Mayor Sam Joshi said, who is of South Asian descent. “More than one-third of our township celebrates this holiday, but you don’t have to be religious to appreciate the beauty of light overcoming darkness. I invite everyone in our community to come out and celebrate our township’s rich culture.”
Attendees can enjoy food, music, fireworks, performances from local groups, and vendors. Special celebrity guests include actor Nikhil Siddhartha, singer and actor Mangli (Satyavathi Rathod), and singers Mauli Dave and Salman Ali, according to a press release through the township.
A Diya lighting ceremony will take place at 6 p.m. A schedule of activities will be published on the event’s Facebook page in the days leading up to the event.
Diwali, a festival of lights, is an official holiday in several countries and celebrates the themes of the victory of good over evil, light over darkness, and hope over despair. One Hindu Diwali story tells of a prince who a king exiled – but was able to return to his hometown with the help of ordinary people who lit his path with candles. Various regions throughout India focus on different stories – but they all are unified under the theme of good triumphing over evil.
This year Diwali is observed on Oct. 24. Edison Public Schools are closed for the holiday.
In Jainism, Diwali marks the nirvana, or spiritual awakening, of Lord Mahavira; in Sikhism, it honors the day that Guru Hargobind Ji, the Sixth Sikh Guru, was freed from imprisonment. Buddhists in India celebrate Diwali as well.