Cary Diwali 2014 – Aapo Deepo Bhava
By NEETU RAJPAL
The theme for Cary Diwali 2014 was Aapo Deepo Bhava: Be a Light unto yourself. It was held on October 18th, 2014 with almost 13,600 people in attendance throughout the day for the the celebration of Diwali at the Koka Booth Amphitheater in Cary, NC.
HumSub, a cultural group based in Cary, NC, put on the 14th annual Cary Diwali festival, one of the largest open-air festivals of its kind in the south-eastern United States. The celebration opened with a traditional lamp lighting and the reading of the proclamation declaring October 18th, 2014 as Cary Diwali Day by Lyman Collins, the Manager of Town of Cary Park, Recreation and Cultural Resources on behalf of the Mayor of Cary. Lori Bush and Ed Yerha, members of Council from Town of Cary and Mayor of Morrisville Mark Stohlman were present during the inaugration ceremony. The day-long festival started off with breath-taking classical as well as Bollywood dances and inspiring musical performances. Kids, adults and people of all ages in between shared the stage on this day to display and embrace the spirit of Diwali. Altogether, over 600 performers including many from outside the local Indian community performed. Attendees were also able to sample food from various parts of India as five different local restaurants vied for business with delicacies from various parts of India all in one place. Vendors with other Indian artifacts, clothes, decorations also made part of the celebration that was going on in the background. The whole setup brought back memories of being in India.
Based on the incredible response to the photo contest/exhibition of photographs submitted by local photographers conducted last year, Cary Diwali 2014 exhibition brought back another year of mesmerizing visual treats. In 2014, we introduced three categories for the photo submissions – 1. Seva: Selfless Service (activities); 2. Asha: Faces of Hope (people); 3. Srishti: Life is Beautiful (nature). The old adage “A picture is worth a thousand words” came true, once again, as people saw exhibits of photographs on “everyday India” as seen through the lens of local amateur and professional photo artists. These photographs were judged by Dr. Shivji Joshi from India, Susanne Gänsicke from Boston, MA and Dr. Tushar Ghosh from NCSU.
In 2014, Hum Sub instituted “AAPO DEEPO BHAVA” award recognizing youngsters who made an outstanding contribution in the community or excelled in Education or Cultural Arts. “AAPO DEEPO BHAVA” meaning “Be a Light Unto Yourself” is the parting message uttered by Lord Buddha to his disciples. Even though India has always been the destination for a spiritual quest, Cary Diwali 2014 theme emphasized the search ‘within’ through the medium of volunteering and community service. Volunteerism is the foundation upon which our community assets are built. Helping others kindles happiness in the giver and the receiver. On the occasion of Diwali, the Festival of Lights, we celebrated this effort made by our area youngsters to bring this spark of light in their own and others’ lives.
The highlight of the festival was a spectacular evening program featuring participants of Zee TV’s Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Mauli Dave and Sandeep Batra. The two brilliant singers besides filling the open air venue with pop and classical tunes made the Mayor of Cary, Harold Weinbrecht and the Town of Cary Council member, Gayle Adcock dance to their tunes on the stage. Finally, as the performers finished their astounding act, fireworks leapt into the night’s sky, providing a wondrous ending to another successful Cary Diwali event.