MUSEUM OF SAN JOSE CELEBRATES
ANNUAL DIWALI FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS
By Sindhu Ravuri
To sophomore Abhinav, Diwali brings in new year for
Indians. "It's really awesome everyone is in such a happy
mood. our family considers it as one of the biggest festivals
of the year. we just meet at someones house and put on a lot
To Junior Charita, Diwali is festival of lights. " For my
family it's just a day where we get together with family
friends and have a good time and enjoy firecrackers."
Diwali or Deepavali as it is called meaning "row of
lamps," is an official holiday not just in India but also in
Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad &
Tobago, Suriname, Malaysia, Singapore and Fiji.
For many Indians, Diwali is one of the most important
festivals of the year and is celebrated in families by performing
traditional activities together in their homes. It is celebrated as the triumph of good over evil by lighting
small clay lamps to drive away the darkness. It traditionally
signifies the arrival of King Rama and his wife Sita to
claim thier kingdom after killing the evil king Ravana thus
bringing joy and prosperity to thier people.
At Children Discovery Museum (CDM), where Diwali
has taken its turn to be an annual celebration in line of
Cultural Awareness Initiative Program since 2011, many
children perform at the much awaited Diwali dance, music
and special events that will take take place on October 19
and 20, 2019.
"This is the ninth time CDM has this event, largely
because of the huge success it has received," elucidated
Usha Panja, a Harker mom, who choreographed Fashion
show with about 30 kids, most belonging to Harker for
three years in a row. "CDM is a unique platform to conduct
this fashion show since it brings incredible diversity of participants
and audiences which really is something that I
enjoy and look forward to," she said.
"CDM synthesizes it into a single event for the benefit of
main stream Americans and highlights Diwali in a secular
fashion. Most Americans and Indian Americans don't get
this perspective in similar Diwali events."
CDM is a non profit organization, and by participating
in such cross cultural activities, school kids are giving back
to the community while promoting the message of Diwali
to families for main stream Americans," MinhAn Nguyen,
Cultural Liaison at CDM further elaborated. "The fashion
show itself celebrates color and diversity and participants
always feel good about themselves and how they project
their personality. It is not often, that kids from all walks of
life get an opportunity to drape themselves in colorful
Diwali attire. In addition, since this is truly a community
service, the time they spend for this cause can also be used
as part of their community service hours."
Cecilia Clark, marketing head of CDM said that she is
very excited with the success of this year's two-day celebrations
which includes Rangoli & Henna in addition to
many community activities such as Diya painting, Dandiya
(dancing sticks) painting, stroy time, dance, music and
"San Jose is one of the most diverse cultures in the
nation," said Clark. We have over a 100 languages spoken
here. And so with that in mind how do we help families get
to know a little bit about the community that they live in?
The South Asian population is one that has wonderful celebrations
and the feedback we get from the families from all
different backgrounds that come as our member base is vey
diverse. They want to know more about their community
they live in and this is one way for them to do it. We (CDM)
enjoy being part of that learning for the community." She
further explained that Diwali is part of their community
awareness services. Similarly CDM also celebrates
Chinese, Vietnamese and Latino special days amongst others.
Remembering the cultural show last year which had
many young students taking part, Clarkgushed with admiration.
"Oh my god they were so professional and amazing.
The carriage of the performers even the little boys was really
wonderful. What I liked about it is the diversity. It's just
not Indian kids but children of every background were part
of it. And they all came out in traditional attire and it was simply wonderful. And so not only were they a rainbow of
rich fabrics but there is rainbow of children. And I think
that to me signifies what I want to see in my community
which is we are all connected and this is a way to share culture,
a way to feel amazing and proud and beautiful."
"We're thrilled that our ninth Diwali celebration will
celebrate many new additions in the museum," said CDM
Executive Director Marilee Jennings. "We are very grateful
for the generous, enthusiastic support of our Advisory
Committee who helped make the event a resounding success,
and we look forward to celebrating the festival for
many years to come."
Designed to engage the entire community in activities
reflective of South Asian traditions, CDM's Ninth Annual
Diwali Festival of Lights will feature stage performances ,
storytelling, and arts activities. The Bay Area's Altu and
Phaltu Pyare, hosts of the blockbuster radio show will take
over the stage as Emcees for performances, which will
include Vishal RAmani's students performance, excellent
Bhangra dances, Dol, Hand Gesture workshop.
In addition, children learned to make Diwali diya
lamps and Dandia Sticks, hear stories about Diwali, and
help create colorful decorative chalk rangoli designs in the
portico outside the Museum.
Children's Discovery Museum is committed to promoting
the culture and diversity of our region. Diwali festivities
join a host of other cultural events at the Museum
such Dia de los Tres Reyes Magos, a Latino celebration; Chinese Lunar New Year; and the Children of the Dragon
Vietnamese heritage festival. Through exploring the traditions
of Diwali with the community, Children's Discovery
Museum provides families of all backgrounds the opportunity
to learn more about the rich fabric of culture and traditions
in Silicon Valley.
ABOUT CHILDREN'S DISCOVERY MUSEUM OF SAN
JOSE Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose has been
ranked by Child Magazine as one of the top 10 children's
museums in the U.S. and selected by the London Observer
as one of the top 5 science centers in the world. Since opening
its doors in 1990, CDM has welcomed over 5 million
visitors and has offered new interactive exhibits each year
that respond to children's diverse educational needs. The
striking 52,000 square foot purple building was designed
by Mexico City-based architect Ricardo Legorreta, and is a
beacon of discovery. Encompassing the broad themes of
community, connections and creativity, interactive exhibits
invite self-directed, open-ended explorations, while programs
such as BioSITE and Discovery Youth provide facilitated,
focused, and sustained learning. For more information
about the Museum, visit www.cdm.org.