Brighten your day with Diwali, the festival of lights!

By Mark Schlienz
October 17, 2017

Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, comes to the Seattle Center Armory on Saturday, October 21. All performances and activities are free. Also free is authentic, made-from-scratch, Indian vegetarian cuisine. Everyone is welcome!

For the fifth year, the Vedic Cultural Center is organizing Diwali at the Seattle Center. It’s the most recent addition to the Center’s 20 year-old Festal project that showcases cultural diversity in the Pacific Northwest. Dignitaries will light the traditional Diwali lamps beginning at noon. They include Washington state Lieutenant Governor Cyrus Habib, State Senator Patty Kuderer of the 48th legislative district, King County Council member Claudia Balducci, Steve Sneed, managing artistic director of Seattle Center’s Festal, and Robert Nellams, director of the Seattle Center.

Special thanks to Harry Terhanian, president of cultural festivals for the Vedic Cultural Center, and Latha Sambamurti, Washington state arts commissioner and artistic director for Diwali festival.

(Diwali is the Hindu celebration of light over dark. The triumph of good over evil. Myths behind the celebration vary between regions. Yet light is seen everywhere during its five day duration. The focus is on enjoyment of life.)

(Kids will get to mold from clay, a model of Ganesha - the cute Indian Elephant god of wisdom and success.

Ganesha, the cuddly Hindu elephant god who rides a mouse. Filled with wisdom, he removes obstacles to success. Kids will get to mold a model of Ganesha from clay.

The festivities, jam-packed with adventure and cultural exploration, begin at noon and last until 6pm. Expect lots of hands-on participation – kid and family friendly. Activities include:

  • Face painting, henna, painting of traditional clay lamps (diyas)
  • Free chai at a replica of an authentic Indian tea stand
  • Spice making workshop, cupcake decorations, roti (Indian bread) cooking demonstration
  • Displays of Indian dolls (golu) and handicrafts
  • An expert astrologer
  • Madhubani paintings presented by student artists,
  • Featured artist Annie Penta will bring flowers to create a mandala.
  • And much, much more!

Two clean and friendly cows, revered in Indian culture, will stand guard just outside the Armory. Courtesy of Uncle Harry Terhanian’s farm in Redmond.

Dress up for Diwali, a cultural fashion show which begins at 1:15.

Events on the Armory stage start at noon. Here are just a few highlights: At 12:15, Made in USA, students of violin maestro Ganesh Rajagopolan and ensemble. Sanjana Vulisetti performs a unique Rajasthani folk dance on a hoverboard at 3:15. From 4:00 until 6:00, Rajasthani Caravan, an internationally celebrated dance and musical troupe, will be the final, featured act. Arriving all the way from India, they are hereditary performers of traditional folk songs from Rajasthan.

(Rajasthani Caravan performs.)

(Images from Pixabay.)