New York: The Association of Indians in America (AIA) – NY chapter held a Diya-lighting ceremony on November 13 in Times Square next to Nasdaq to usher in 2020 Deepavali and to pray for the end of Covid-19 suffering.
The ceremony with a limited number of guests was headed by Consul General Randhir Jaiswal along with State Senator John Liu and Deputy Consul General Shatrughna Sinha.
Harish Thakkar, President of AIA-NY, said Deepavali on South Street Seaport is their flagship event, which is enjoyed by over 50,000 people every year. But Covid forced them to cancel the event and hold instead the Diya lighting at Times Square. He added that AIA facilitated the first celebration of Diwali in the White House in 2005.
Ambassador Randhir Jaiswal wished everyone Happy Diwali and a prosperous New Year. He said that Diwali truly brightens our evenings as we unite to celebrate the festival to mark the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness. Diwali’s central message of openness, peace and mutual respect is one we can all learn from. He lauded AIA-NY for holding the largest celebration of the Deepavali in America for the past 32 years.
Senator John Liu, who has attended many AIA-NY Deepavali events, said this festival is the celebration of light and so, coming at a time of darkness, when there are so many sad stories of bereavement, sickness and financial hardship caused by the virus, we need to ensure that our inner light stays ignited. It’s a time to share compassion, love and care with everyone around us.