Sunday, November 11, 2007

Happy Diwali!

Last night, I attended my first ever Diwali festival, and it was such a fine time! Diwali is a holiday celebrated by many members of the Indian community worldwide. It is commonly termed the "Festival of Lights" -- celebrations are marked by lights and lamps which celebrate the victory of good over evil.

This year, the suburban community of Duluth, Georgia (popularized recently as home of the "runaway bride" Jennifer Wilbanks) sponsored its first Diwali outdoor festival in its town center. There were hundreds of people in attendance, and we were treated to wonderful finger foods, classical and modern dances, and vendor booths full of fascinating gifts, clothing, and decorative articles for the home.

I was particularly captivated by a booth chock-full of Indian movies, videos, and CD's, many of which I've recently become more familiar with as a result of my Bollywood fascination. I purchased copies of Lagaan, Devdas, and a video performance by the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Pakistani master of qawwali singing.

There was a definite chill in the air, and my tasty dinner of hot chicken samosas, chicken 65, and hot tea made for a pleasant and memorable evening. Families, couples, young and old all joined together to create a true community experience -- it reminded me of fairs which I had attended as a child, only this time with a totally different and distinctly international flavor.

Coupled with seeing the new Hollywood/Bollywood movie Saawariya on Friday night with a group of friends from all over the world, I feel that I've made a virtual trip to India this past weekend. What fun! I'll be back at the Diwali Festival next year, and perhaps I'll see you there!