Jeff Morgan, Jeff.Morgan@iowa.gov, (515)
(DES MOINES) – The
Maharashtra Mandal of Iowa in collaboration with the Iowa Arts Council, the Iowa
Department of Cultural Affairs, and the State Historical Society of Iowa will
sponsor “Diwali, the Festival of Lights!” Noon-4 p.m. on Sunday, November
6, 2005 at the State Historical Building.
Considered one of India’s
most popular festivals, Diwali is a celebration of truth and light. “Diwali”
is derived from the Sanskrit word “deepavali” – “deepa”
meaning light and “avali” meaning a row – and literally means
a row of light that symbolizes the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness,
and hope over despair. Diwali is held on Naraka Chathurdasi Day on the dawn of
Amavaasyaa during the Hindu month of Ashwina or Aippasi, which coincides with
the Western calendar months of September or October every year.
Traditionally, Diwali is
characterized by the lighting of small oil lamps – called “diyas”
– that are placed around the home and in courtyards, verandas and gardens
as well as on rooftops and outer walls. In urban areas, candles are substituted
for diyas, and neon lights are used in place of candles in other areas.
The festival is celebrated by fireworks and exchanging sweets with friends and
This year’s celebration
at the Historical Building, however, will take on a different purpose. In response
to the enormous damage suffered across the world from tsunamis, hurricanes, floods
and earthquakes, the Maharashtra Mandal of Iowa will celebrate this year’s
Diwali by exhibiting rangoli (sketches and patterns using chalk powder,
colors, flowers and/or grains). Demonstrations on rangoli drawing will
be offered at 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. and workshops on making aakash-kandil
(“skylamps” made from paper and bamboo sticks – similar
to making kites) will be offered at 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., and 3:30 p.m.
Traditional Indian food
and snacks will be available, and a portion of the sales and all donations will
be sent to the Red Cross for disaster relief.
Please call Ketki Hood
at (515) 457-8174 or Prajakta Pradhan at (515) 222-9824 by October 31, 2005, to
participate in rangoli drawing and aakash-kandil making. Vendors
interested in selling food and snacks can call Manish at (515) 457-8174 for more
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