BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ – A Diwali celebration filled the Berkeley Heights YMCA with the sights, sounds and aromas of India on Saturday, Nov. 17. Diwali, also known as the Hindu festival of lights, is celebrated in the fall in the northern hemisphere and spring in the southern hemisphere. It marks the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance and hope over despair.
This is the second year the festival has been held at the Berkeley Heights branch of the Summit Area YMCA, in partnership with the Berkeley Heights Diversity Council.
The main venue for the festival was the gymnasium, where a prayer marked the beginning of the event, followed by dance performances by students from local dance studios specializing in traditional Indian dance. After about 45 minutes, a 30-minute break permitted guests to visit other rooms in the Y facility where there were arts and crafts for children; a vendor space featuring traditional South Asian goods, including jewelry, handbags, and fabric, among other items; a space to learn the basics of meditation another for henna application and a room where traditional Indian food was available for purchase.
After the break, it was time for dancing lessons for everyone! Soon the gym was filled with lines of people (yes, a few men joined in) learning new ways to dance.