Several hundred Hopkinton residents and local community members will be coming together to celebrate an important cultural tradition for many in town.
Residents of Legacy Farms North and South will be hosting their third annual Diwali Mela, or Festival of Lights, on Saturday, Oct. 26, at the Joseph P. Keefe Technical High School in Framingham.
Diwali, which is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists from around the world, is a celebration of the spiritual “victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance.” During the traditional five-day festival, temples, home, shops and office buildings are brightly illuminated as a metaphor for knowledge and consciousness.
Hoping to celebrate a traditional holiday as well as educate others about their culture, the Hopkinton residents set about a few years ago to host a Diwali celebration in their community. Just a few years later, the group is expecting close to 800 guests at this year’s Diwali Mela.
“It’s a great event for friends and family to gather together and enjoy the evening,” said Ravi Dasari, the main coordinator for this year’s Diwali celebration. “It’s a celebration to commemorate the return of Ram, the lord of virtue, to his kingdom, after 14 years of exile.”
The event will kick off at 3:30 p.m. with traditional Indian appetizers and a chance to peruse vendors’ booths, including jewelers, artisans and local businesses. At 4:45 p.m., guests will be entertained for an hour with cultural programs including dances, skits and singing before the dance floor is opened to anyone who would like to perform.
The evening also will include a full Indian buffet dinner of delicacies and desserts, all for $15 per adult (free for children).
For those who celebrate Diwali in their homes, there will be a contest for the best lit houses for the festival and a painting contest for the children.
Organizers of this year’s festivals have been working for months on preparations, from everything from booking vendors to sourcing sponsors to planning the menu.
“We couldn’t do this without the volunteers,” Dasari said of the 50-plus people who are putting together this year’s celebration. “They have spent months giving of their time.”
The event is open to the public, no matter what your background or religion, said Dasari.
“We have a lot of people from many different cultures come every year — church leaders, town committee members,” he said. “It is a festival where all friends can gather together and celebrate.”
For more information on this year’s Diwali celebration, or to sign up in advance for the dinner, email Dasari at firstname.lastname@example.org.