Aurora’s Indian American community is set to celebrate its fourth Diwali celebration this weekend, a celebration that has become one of the city’s largest.
The City Council this week recognized the event with a proclamation that not only notes the holiday, but the work of Aurora’s Indian American Community Outreach Advisory Board in putting it together.
“It’s a very good entry point for everyone to learn something about Indian culture, about Indians in America, Indian food, Indian food …” said Ald. Rick Mervine, 8th Ward. His comments drew laughter, and a quip from Mayor Richard Irvin.
“Do you want to mention Indian food once more?” he said.
Food is a big part of the celebration, which takes place from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Saturday at Waubonsie Valley High School, Eola Road and Route 34. But there is also a lot of entertainment and celebration because Diwali preaches peace and togetherness.
“It’s one of the most celebrated holidays in the world,” said Mervine. “It’s a special time of peace and understanding, of tearing down ignorance.”
Gautam Bhatia, chairman of the outreach advisory committee, said Diwali is also a celebration for local Indian Americans of being in Aurora, and of the city’s diversity. The committee sponsors several scholarship opportunities through the Diwali celebration.
“Giving back to the community is probably the most satisfying part to me,” Bhatia said.