The Ridgefield Indian American community rings in the festive season early every year with Diwali celebrations; this year the festival was celebrated on Nov. 2 at Jesse Lee Memorial Church in town. Diwali also marks the first day of the New Year for some families. Although Diwali is an Indian holiday, it symbolizes universal themes of the victory of good over evil, light over darkness, and knowledge over ignorance. For the Indian American community, it is about celebrating where we come from. About 45 families, including 70 children of all ages, came together for a very colorful evening.

The celebrations included a large spread of foods such as samosa chaat, naan, gobi manchurian and gulab jamun. Adults and kids presented a kaleidoscope of dances and a skit showcasing the cultural diversity in different parts of India. Authentic and colorful attires shone a spotlight on all the performers and their performances.

In between the performances the audience had a chance to answer trivia questions about Hindu mythology and contemporary Indian and Indian American topics. Kids were entertained with crafts and activities. And of course, we cannot call it a night without an open Bollywood dance floor. In the spirit of giving back to the community, a perishable food drive was also conducted that evening for the RVNA food pantry.

As a kid, I haven’t enjoyed Diwali in India, but this celebration with friends and family always brings me closer to my roots. The amazing array of food, dresses, and performances made me think about and truly understand and appreciate the culture and my origin. It was all the more special for my family as we loved being up on stage as the emcees of the evening. It was indeed an evening to remember.

Editor’s note: The writer is currently a student at East Ridge Middle School.