Diwali Lights Up World Trade Center

Diwali is the celebration of light over darkness, good over evil, and more than 1 billion Hindus worldwide are observing it Thursday by lighting candles, setting off fireworks and exchanging gifts with friends and family.

While most people may refer to the holiday as Diwali, it’s traditionally called Deepavali and that is how it’s known in most parts of India.

This year for the first time, the World Trade Center has been lit with a digital mural in celebration of the holiday, organized by the South Asian Engagement Foundation, along with a livestreamed fireworks show on the Hudson River on Nov 2, 2021, at 6 pm and continued until Nov. 4, 2 am.

Dubbed the All-American Diwali experience, it also included a spectacular fireworks display that was viewed by audiences on both sides of the Hudson!, a press release from South Asian Engagement Foundation said.

“We are excited to create and curate the colorful imagery of Diwali on the WTC podium to bring the messages of peace, harmony, and unity,” said Mark Domino of the Durst Organization.

For the first time ever, Diwali-themed animation adorned One World Trade Center where the animation went live on Nov 2, 2021, at 6pm and continued until Nov. 4, 2 am. Photo: South Asian Engagement Foundation.

“There is no better symbol of the triumph of resiliency than the World Trade Center and we are very fortunate to work with The Durst Organization to bring this message to all,” said Rahul Walia, founding trustee of SAEF.

Organized by SAEF, a New Jersey-based non-profit, the All-American Diwali experience was dedicated to the Country’s first responders. The NYPD conducted a ceremonial Color Guard with One World Trade Center as the backdrop. American Singer/Actress Mary Millben performed the US national anthem and a verse from the popular Diwali hymn-Om Jai Jagdish Hare.

“We’re so honored that the first annual All-American Diwali is dedicated to the police officers of New York City. As a police officer of Indian origin, I’m particularly excited to see the One World Trade Center light up for this festival, a symbol of our city’s enduring spirit,” said Det. Annand Narayan, president of NYPD Desi.

Key benefactors of the ‘All American Diwali’ celebration include crypto exchange, CrossTower and Atlanta based 27th Investments, a national investment firm.

Indiaspora served as community patron and supporters include EQ Factor, Touchdown Media and Kawan Foods. Indian-American artist Varun Patel of Vichaar & Prem provided inspiration for the animation.

“Diwali is a time that celebrates family and universal compassion, and we are grateful to be sharing the values of solidarity and peace with the greater New York Community,” Kapil Rathi, CEO and Co-Founder of CrossTower, is quoted saying in the press release.

“All American Diwali embodies the spirit of not only the sentiment behind the festival but also integrates itself into the fabric of Americana. 27th Investments is proud to support this experience,” says Anil Damani, CEO 27th Investments.

The SAEF says it is dedicated to building a strong brand for the Indian-American community “by empowering them and catalyzing the conversation around Indian Americans.”

In the future, it plans to hold a digital mural depicting 75 years of India’s democracy, a National STEM competition, an Indian Edition Smorgasbord and an All-American Holi at Governors Island, NY.

The non-profit SAEF counts among its initiatives, the South Asian Spelling Bee and the Cricket Bee. Its “vision is to continue supporting and organizing educational initiatives and cultural outreach to expand national awareness of the Indian American community.”

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