The Prospector

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Cupertino Diwali Festival 2018

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Memorial Park in Cupertino lit up with festivities on Saturday, October 13, 2018 for the 16th annual Bay Area Diwali Festival. Diwali, also known as the Festival of Light, celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance. The park was transformed into a huge party, with unique booths lining every inch of available space, the smell of fresh Indian food wafting through the air and with people from all over the Bay Area coming to celebrate. There were activities for people of all ages and ethnicities, so that anyone could enjoy the festivities.

Cupertino’s very own 2020 student council showcased their creative skills while fundraising for Junior prom by setting up a booth in the festival as well. Council members and 2020 students sold balloon animals and painted faces for excited children.

Said Junior Sayesha Chaudhary, 2020 rally chair, “there’s a lot different booths and activities and a lot of organizations that are raising awareness and raising funds for their causes. People are really excited to be here and are definitely interested in what we do and what we’re raising funds for.”

In the center of the festival stood an outdoor stage, where dancers and singers of different backgrounds and styles performed throughout the day. From classical to folk and even Bollywood, the performers entertained a large audience and their music echoed throughout the park.

Said Sweta Subramanya, who performed Kathak, a traditional North Indian dance, “the amount of time and energy the dancers put into their performance shows how important the festival is to them.”

Cupertino has a diverse community, and within it, a large South Asian population. With an increasing concentration of Indians in the area, the size and scale of the festivities follow. For many, the festival is a reminder of home and a source of comfort. “Diwali is a festival that connects everyone in India. It’s a festival that everyone can relate to, no matter what part of India they come from. Being at the festival today makes me feel like I’m part of the culture, part of the tradition. I don’t miss home as much,” said Girija Subramanya, a Tino parent who attended the festival.

However, people who celebrate Diwali regularly were not the only attendees of the festival. Many individuals of different ethnicities and cultures came to enjoy and support the tradition. Said Angie, who is from Vietnam, “I came here today because my neighbors are Indian and wanted to see the festival because of them. I love my culture, vietnamese culture, but I thought it would be nice to take my daughter around and experience different cultures as well”.

The celebrations lasted well into the evening, and almost everyone who came to experience the festival left excited and more knowledgeable about the Festival of Light.

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