By Amelia Tarallo
Hometown Weekly Staff
The Caryl Community Center was lit up on November 9. Tables were covered in flickering electric candles. Strings of fairy lights wrapped around poles and slithered up stair railings. Colorful saris covered the walls, serving as decorations to the normally blank walls. Other decor was carefully placed around the room. The setup was perfect to celebrate Diwali, the Indian Festival of Lights.
Almost everyone came dressed in traditional Indian clothing, ready to celebrate the new year with friends. This year, Diwali was celebrated officially on October 27, though this belated party was just as welcomed. Diwali celebrates the victory of light over darkness, good over evil. For many coming to celebrate, it is more about being with loved ones than focusing on the religious connotation of the event. “Other than celebrating the new year, it’s meeting all your relatives and enjoying the starting of a new year,” said Hema Salva on her favorite part of the holiday.
Guests were happy to grab a tray of some of their favorite indian dishes to enjoy for dinner. Guests filled their trays with naan, chicken tikka masala, malai kofta, aloo gobi, saag paneer, and rice. “Oh, that’s so spicy. So good!” said one guest after dipping a piece of a samosa into a hot chutney.
Many attendees were excited when it came time for the entertainment, as a series of dances awaited. The first dance included two Dover natives telling the story of Diwali, with two child narrating as the other acted it out. The pantomiming had many audience members chuckling. The second dance featured dancers from the Triveni Dance School. Included in their act was a dance about three statues that come alive.
Following their number, committee members jumped immediately into a poppy-sounding number. Their performance of a Dandiya Raas was a first for the annual celebration. After weeks of preparation, the committee had definitely impressed all of their guests. The dance ended with committee members inviting their guests up to learn the dance. “If I can learn it, so can you,” said one of the committee members to her friend.
With the new year in full swing, these community members were more than happy to celebrate their culture, and to share it with their friends. Perfectly performed dances, great food, and fantastic company made for a bright Dover Diwali.