For many years, the Seattle Art Museum has been hosting a Celebrate Diwali event at the Asian Art Museum in Seattle’s Volunteer Park. Visitors can enjoy a dance performance, make their own votive candle holder, see a fashion show, and listen to all sorts of traditional Indian music. The event, that took place for the first time from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on November 5, 2015, is free, but the museum wants people to make reservations nonetheless.
This celebration of the arts and cultures of Asia takes place on the first Saturday of most months. Celebrate Diwali is organized to honor special Indian traditions, so everyone is welcome to enjoy fashion shows, traditional music, and dance performances at this annual Free First Saturday India celebration.
In 2015, on Sunday, November 6, the Seattle Art Museum also organized the “Festival of Lights” at the Seattle Center. The festival kicked off at noon in the Armory Main Floor (305 Harrison Street), and highlighted the culture and arts of India. The “Festival of Lights” was entirely indoors, suitable for all ages, and free for the public. The festival featured several internationally highly reputed artists, a henna booth, Indian dance lessons, face painting, a puppet show, Indian chai, and all sorts of food from many parts of India.
But there was more. Thos who wanted something completely different could try out “Diwaloween”. This is a hybrid form of Diwali, Bollywood, and Halloween. This event took place at The Crocodile (2200 2nd Avenue) at 9 p.m. on Saturday, October 29, and has been running for over 15 years. “Diwaloween” is a 21-and-over event that’s hosted by DJ’s Kapil, Tamm, and Aanshul. The $18 cover charge includes music, candy, and the most beautiful prizes for Indian attire and the best costumes.
If you want more information about local activities, please check out the Seattle Indian community website. Take notice of the following:
Diwali, the Festival of Lights (the most joyful and popular Hindu holiday), starts in America on Saturday, October 29.
- Diwali is the most festive of all Hindu holidays. It is a 5-day festival of lights celebrating the victory of enlightenment over ignorance and good over evil. Though it is perfectly fine to say “Happy Diwali & a prosperous new year” in private circles, don’t go around saying this to anyone who just seems to be of South Asian descent.
- Diwali lasts five days, yet the most festive and holy night is the second when the new moon is darkest in the Hindu lunar month of Kartika. This year, the first day of Diwali (meaning “Row of Lights”) is on October 29 in America, and on October 30 in India.
- Diwali is a Hindu holiday that’s also observed by Sikhs, Jains, and several Buddhists.
- The story of Diwali in Hindu mythology is that Lord Rama and Sita (his wife) were exiled for 14 years by King Ayodha, his father. When Lord Rama returned to his homeland, he destroyed an evil demon, so he was welcomed by the people who lit clay lamps.
- There are more traditional observations besides lighting small lamps. These include cleaning houses thoroughly, painting designs (or Rangoli) on a home’s floor with colored and crushed rice, chalk, or sand, preparing piles of vegetarian food, buying something new for the house or new clothes, lighting fireworks, exchanging sweets, or visiting a family’s siblings.