August 22 2018

Diwali Celebration Once More Planned for Burlington Town Common

By: Rich Hosford

Burlington Town Common will once again be lit up for the Festival of Lights and many Burlington residents of Indian descent are inviting the entire community to participate.


“We made history last year by co-hosting the first ever Diwali extravaganza with the town of Burlington – this was the ‘first ever’ that a town in Massachusetts lit up their very own town Commons to commemorate an Indian festival!” an invite from the group Indian Americans for Burlington (IAB) states.


Last week representatives from the group received permission from the Board of Selectmen to use the Common for the celebration on Sunday, September 30 for the Diwali celebration. The event will start at 3 p.m.


During the meeting IAB member Indra Deb said the actual day for Diwali this year is November 7 but the group wanted to observe the holiday earlier in the spring due to what the weather may be like that late in the year. Member Ranjani Saigal added that since last year was so successful they are going to expand the event this year.


“Thank you all for coming last year and for all your support,” she said. “We thought we’d get 100 people but got around 700. This year we aren’t going to make it just about Diwali. India has a lot of festivals and we will celebrate many different festivals all at once.”


The event will feature festive cultural performances, games, a photo booth, food and other stalls to shop, a street play, a cultural program and more. Diwali is the most popular festival in India and it spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair.


Deb said one goal of the event is to bring Burlington’s Indian and non-Indian populations together for a shared celebration. He added that IAB has been working hard to support the community.  


“Our mission is civic, charitable and educational,” he said. “We’ve been doing a scholarship. We have close to 3,500 Indians in Burlington and we want to bring this event to the community so we are officially we are here to invite you.”


Members of the Board were enthusiastic about the festival and said their only concern was having sufficient parking and proper facilities available for attendees.


“It was a very positive event last year and we expect a big turnout this year,” Board Chairman Chris Hartling said. “So we encourage you to work with town departments and other groups to ensure sufficient parking and safety.”


The board voted unanimously to support the use of the Town Common. They also approved a rain date of Sunday, October 7.  


BNEWS attended the festival last year. You can see our coverage here.


Cover photo by Neil Pandit of Neil Pandit Photography


Editor's Note: This story has been edited to correctly identify one of the speaker's as Indra Deb. The original version had the incorrect name.


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