Diwali Festival of Lights to unite Guam's Indian community

Guam’s Indian community will enjoy a night of lights, colors, and joy of their heritage Saturday as they celebrate India’s largest, most important festival—Diwali; the celebration of the new year, which dates back thousands of years ago.  

Following the beginning of the lunar calendar, the occasion is also celebrated to celebrate the triumph of good over evil.

To celebrate Diwali today, Indian residents would line their homes with as many diyas as they like, praying to Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, prosperity, and good fortune. The day marks the beginning of new things.

The Indian Temple of Guam is hosting the celebration at 6 p.m. at the Dusit Thani Guam Resort.

“It all starts at home,” said Ranjna Dewan Beaman, who heads the Diwali event on Guam every year. “We are so far away from the motherland. This is the one way that we can keep our culture and our beliefs alive for the other generations. It gives them some sort of comfort to see the next generation still following the same beliefs.”

Beaman was impressed at the local involvement of Guam’s community, calling it ‘mind-blowing’. The event is sold out and expects to gather about 700 guests.

“It’s important because it shows that kindness and good beats out the bad in the world. It gives us an opportunity. Yes, we dress up and come to this event, but take a minute, step back, and ask ‘why am I celebrating this?’,” she continued.

Chef Amit Das flew in from Bangkok to train the chefs at Dusit Thani Guam Resort, who will be cooking for the Diwali celebration. The chef said he wishes there were more Indian restaurants on island so that locals can enjoy the food, given the community’s pleasant response to the dishes he’s presented since he arrived.

“I try to make my dishes colorful. I prepared my best,” he said, happily.

The chef explained that every state in India celebrates Diwali in their own style and worships. He expanded on the varieties of food that you see during Diwali, differing from state to state in spices, sauces, curries, and more.

“Indian food is like a journey. If you start from north, south, east, west…everywhere you travel for one-hundred kilometers, the food changes, the language changes, the dress up of the people changes. If somebody says ‘I’m an Indian’, he’s a liar. One life is not enough to know or learn Indian cuisine.”

The annual black-tie formal festival has taken place on and off on Guam for the past 20 years, and has benefited the Indian Temple of Guam charity.

The Diwali Festival of Lights will be hosted by the Indian Temple of Guam on Saturday, October 14 at the Dusit Thani Guam Resort from 6:00pm to 12:00am. Guests will enjoy interesting and enlightening Indian food and entertainment, as well as a friendly communion of the Indian community.

Source: The Guam Daily Post :

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