Festival of Lights offers evening of food, dance and celebration
The Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork invites everyone to come celebrate Diwali, the Festival of Lights, with them Oct. 17.
Excited for the festival, Charu Das, the Festival of Light’s coordinator said, “It’s going to be a very beautiful, magical night. It’s a good prelude to the winter.”
The festival of light is the annual festival celebrated by Hindus in India to commemorate the return of the avatar of God, Sri Rama, to His ancestral kingdom after an exile of 14 years and many adventures.
All the citizens welcomed Rama home by brightening up the entire city of Ayodhya and setting off fireworks. Thus the festival of light is also known as Deepawali, meaning “rows of lamps.” Today, it is celebrated by Hindus all over the world.
The lights represent good deeds and one of the activities that will be carried out is the lighting of the temple and the lake nearby. Since the festival also signifies the Hindu’s new year, people will be able to light their candles and make wishes for the upcoming year. This will be accompanied with fireworks.
“We are inviting people because we are happy and we want to share this joy with everyone,” said Suvhkrd Das, a priest at the temple. “We believe everyone is a part and parcel of God.”
Another event that is a component of the festival is the celebration that started 5000 years ago by Krishna known as Anna Kuta. The literal meaning is “heaps of food.” This tradition became part of the Festival of Lights because of its occurrence during the lull between fall harvests and the onset of the monsoons and is regarded as a time of thanksgiving. This festival does not only stand as a time for thanksgiving, but Lord Krishna introduced Anna Kuta to encourage the worship of cows.
“Cows are like the mothers of India because we are nourished by her dairy product,” said Das. He added that dedicated Hindus do not kill cows because they are more valuable alive. With a estimated average of 90,000 lbs. dairy product a cow can produce during its life time, Charu explains that it is better to keep the cow alive to produce that dairy rather than kill it for the sake of getting only 700 lbs. of meat.
A huge celebratory feast accompanies Diwali to show how many different things can be made from milk products. Most Hindus are vegetarian, thus this festival also goes a long way to show that there is a variety of food in a vegetarian’s diet. People are encouraged to bring vegetarian foods without garlic and onions because, according to Das, “garlic and onion are spices that make one quick to anger.”
The festival is also a time for dancing.
“Since most of the hard work has been done and the harvest is over, it is now time to relax and celebrate with dances,” said Das. There is, live music, drama and traditional Indian dances are performed such as the fork dance and the classical Indian Orissa.
There is also the opportunity to learn how to dance the Guajarati folk dance.
Das recomends bringing a date. Meals are $6, while the entertainment is free. “Isn’t it a great place to being a date?”
Schedule of events for the Festival of Light
6 p.m. – A PowerPoint presentation on the significance of the event will be presented inside the temple.
6:30 p.m. – A ceremony commemorating how Krishna lifted up a mountain to protect his people from a heavy rainfall sent by the king of heaven.
7 p.m. – The classical dance Orissi will be performed.
7:30 p.m. – A devotional comedy will be presented.
7:45 p.m. – The ceremony of the worshipping of a live cow.
8 p.m. – The Anna Kuta and Arotik ceremony: The lights in the temple are turned down and there will be the opening of the food offered to deities. This will be accompanied with musical sounds of conch shells and gongs.
8:30 p.m. – The Indian folk dance will be taught to everyone interested. “This is simple and easy to learn in minutes” Said Charu
What: The Festival of Lights
When: Oct. 17 at 6:00 p.m.
Where: Krishna temple, 8628 S State St., Spanish Fork