India West, which bills itself as the “Best India Newspaper in Print & Online,” gave a big thumbs up to Aurora’s recent Diwali celebration, billed as the second-largest Diwale celebration in Illinois.
But India West was not alone in its praise. Bunches of media, from the Chicago Tribune to a good number of India online and print media, made note of the second-annual event, held Oct. 24 at Waubonsie Valley High School.
Depending on which online story you read, anywhere from 1,000 to 4,000 people attended.
The celebration was put together by Aurora’s Indian American Community Outreach Board, which is also a one of a kind. The Aurora website describes it as “the state of Illinois’ first municipally-sponsored board aimed at helping to promote Indian American culture.”
Diwali, India’s largest annual festival, is celebrated by people throughout India, Nepal and other South Asian countries, regardless of religion, Aurora’s website said. The festival, observed in India by lighting up homes with oil lamps and candles, exchanging gifts and lighting firecrackers, celebrates a mythical victory of good over evil, of light over darkness, and for some it marks the start of the new year.
The fast-paced cultural extravaganza entertained the crowd, while serving as an introduction to India’s mythological and cultural heritage for U.S.-born Indians and non-Indians. Cuisine from various Indian states, and traditional Indian apparel and jewelry provided a feast for the eyes and palate, India West said.
According to IndiaTVnews.com, Aurora has seen a large influx of immigrants, mostly from the four Southern Indian states. The article says Indian-Americans are attracted to Aurora for two reasons: the famed Sri Venkateswara Swami (Balaji) temple, and the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, a school for high achievers.
The India Post (“Voice of Indians Worldwide”) website said Diwali, which coincides with the Hindu New Year is about the victory of light over darkness, or the triumph of good over evil.
The Chicago Tribune (Beacon News) article notes taht Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner formally opened the event by lighting a lamp in honor of Lakshmi, Hindu goddess of prosperity and the matron of Diwali for many of its celebrants.
One India (“India’s #1 Indian Language Portal”) said Aurora’s event is a sort of preview of the Diwali celebration on Nov. 11. It said the October date takes into account the Chicago’s area unpredictable cold in November, which could have prevented the outdoor fireworks display.
Aurora, of course, is “the City of Lights,” a perfect fit with the Diwali celebration.
About the Indian American Community Outreach Board
The city of Aurora’s Indian American Community Outreach Advisory Board is believed to be the state of Illinois’ first municipally-sponsored board aimed at helping to promote Indian American culture.
The board is a non-partisan, community-based panel that will promote civic engagement and community participation. Residents interested in volunteering do not have to be of Indian American descent to serve, but they should demonstrate dedication to the city, work or own a business in Aurora, or be a member of a local community organization that serves Aurora residents.
The Indian American Community Outreach Advisory Board’s mission is to:
- Serve as a bridge between the Indian American community and all other communities in Aurora.
- Build higher levels of civic engagement between local government entities and the Indian American community.
- Provide opportunities in local and international economic development efforts for Aurora’s current Indian American residents and businesses, and,
- Embrace the Indian American community into Aurora’s cultural outreach efforts including welcoming exchange students, visiting dignitaries, cultural events, and others.
For questions and information, contact Alex Voigt at 630-256-3010 or email@example.com.Location: Aurora, IL
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