East meets West: India Home’s seniors celebrate Diwali around New York city

Sunnyside Community Center celebrations

Diwali may be celebrated for only a few days in the year in India, but for our seniors the festivities have lasted all month long.  The Festival was launched with a grand celebration at Sunnyside Community Center. Our member Usha Mehta, spearheaded the planning and execution with a little help from her friends. We had  fun decorating the space with traditional diyas and hangings.  

Over 65 of our members attended the event, which featured among other events, a vigorous garba dance in the main hall of the Sunnyside Center. India Home’s seniors, Chandrakant Sheth and Hasmukhbhai, explained the socio-cultural and spiritual significance of Diwali to the members of Sunnyside Community Center.

Hasmukhbai explains the significance of Diwali

Hasmukhbai explains the significance of Diwali

Seniors from various other cultural backgrounds like Hispanic, Chinese and Eastern European listened avidly as India Home’s members talked about Ram’s defeat of Ravana and his triumphant return to Ayodhya. The speakers drew connections between all cultures and the significance of light vanquishing darkness. India Home’s seniors distributed platters of  homemade Diwali sweets to their American friends, enjoyed a wonderful vegetarian Diwali meal and ended the day with music and dancing.

Kew Gardens Center: Parallels drawn between Hanukkah and Diwali

Usha Mehta, one of our most active members, took the lead to bring the bright lights of Diwali to a multicultural crowd at India Home’s Kew Gardens Center. It was interesting to hear the comparisons drawn between the Hindu festival and the Jewish festival of Hannukah, and the significance that light holds in both these ancient cultures.

“We strive to bring light into the lives of our seniors with the support of all our elected and government officials.” Dr. Vasundhara Kalasapudi said at the City Hall Diwali celebrations.

City Hall Honors India Home

The celebrations ended with an invitation to City Hall. Councilman for District 24, Borough of Queens, Rory Lancman (dressed up in an Indian kurta for the occasion) presided over a program of Indian dances. India Home’s Executive Director, Dr. Vasundhara  Kalasapudi, was awarded a citation from the city for outstanding service to the senior community in Queens. The celebration and India Home was featured in the Indian Panorama.


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