Indian PM sends wishes for Times Square Diwali in New York
The Diwali festival at Times Square continued its tradition, which it has been carrying since 2013, of bringing together the rich tapestry of Indian culture right to the heart of New York City, Times Square.
On the occasion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi sent a special message to all New Yorkers celebrating Diwali at Times Square.
"Heartiest congratulations and greetings on the joyous and auspicious occasion of Diwali. The theme of this year's Diwali celebrations at Times Square -- 'United Colors of America' is yet another manifestation of the spirit of `Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam', or the whole world is one family," PM Modi's message read.
The Prime Minister in the message states that celebrations such as Diwali transcend barriers of nation, religion, caste, creed or colour and the festival is celebrated widely as a symbol of victory of good over evil and the light of knowledge over ignorance.
"Diwali provides members of the Indian diaspora an occasion to renew the abiding connection with Maa Bharati. The celebrations also serve as a platform to showcase our rich cultural heritage and diverse traditions to a larger global audience," he added.
PM Modi wished peace, well-being and prosperity for the Indian diaspora as well as the global fraternity.
"May the Festival of Lights bring peace, well-being and prosperity for all and bring about a deeper transformation within each individual, leading to a peaceful and prosperous planet," he said.
He added, "Best wishes to every member of the Indian community in the USA and to the global fraternity on this joyous and auspicious festival. May Diwali celebrations at Times Square spread happiness and cheer".
The New York City Mayor Eric Adams also participated in the event and shared his understanding of the Diwali festival.
"We deal with so much darkness that is around us; we fail to realize the overwhelming amount of light that is around us. And when we take this period to acknowledge Diwali, we are acknowledging the light that is within us, the light that can clearly push away the darkness, and that is why this is so significant," he said.
A prominent US lawmaker Senator Chuck Schumer, who never misses the Diya lighting ceremony, was also present at the event.
Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar is an Indian American lawmaker who has been instrumental in voicing concerns of the South Asian community. This year Indian Americans will celebrate the NYC Diwali School Holiday, which was made possible by the efforts of Rajkumar and others.
New York City school children also performed a special dance segment in Times Square.
Rajkumar said, "The South Asian and Indo-Caribbean communities are a vital part of our city's gorgeous mosaic. It is a long past time to honour their vibrant cultural heritage by making Diwali a school holiday."
This year, New Yorkers celebrated the Diversity of India and America through 'Colors of America' including South Asian, Indo-Caribbean, Dominican Folk Dance, and Afro-Latino groups. It's a testament to the cultural mosaic that is New York City.
The founder of Diwali at Times Square, Neeta Bhasin, emphasized the importance of educating children about their roots, culture, and traditions from an early age.
Bhasin told ANI that the annual Diwali festival in Times Square plays a pivotal role in connecting children with the festival's significance and fostering a peaceful and harmonious world.