Hindu Society celebrates Festival of Lights

‘Lighting of our hearts … lighting of our knowledge’

BY NEIL SALMINEN

MURPHY NEWS SERVICE

 

The Hindu Society will be celebrated its 35th Anniversary by recently hosting an annual Diwali at the Minneapolis Convention Center for the first time in history.

The Diwali is a five-day Hindu festival, which is also known as “The Festival of Lights.” Diwali is one of the most important festivals of the year. Families celebrate by preforming traditional activities together in their home. Diwali involves the lighting of small clay lamps filled with oil to signify the triumph of good over evil.

“The symbol of lighting the lights represents the lighting of our hearts and the lighting of our knowledge,” said Kanak Dutt, Coordinator for the Hindu Society of Minnesota.

Visitors gather inside the Hindu Temple in Maple Grove. The Hindu Society recently celebrated its annual Diwali event. (Photo by Sharlene Hensrud)

Visitors gather inside the Hindu Temple in Maple Grove. The Hindu Society recently celebrated its annual Diwali event. (Photo by Sharlene Hensrud)

 

The Hindu Society of Minnesota said it was very excited to be hosting the festival at the Minneapolis Convention Center. This venue will be the home for the annual Diwali celebration.

Each year the Hindu Society of Minnesota aims to spread culture through various activities that brings generations together. This year’s Diwali celebration is titled “Lights Through Generations.” The event followed the theme of 100 years of cinema.

“The celebration shows how different film directors have helped us learn how we are changing and improving and how new technology effects our lives and our culture,” Dutt said.

The annual Diwali celebration is one of the largest efforts put together by the Hindu community. More than 350 volunteers devote their time and resources to manage everything from the cultural programs, decorations, ticket sales, food and much more.

The celebration also featured Bollywood dancing, which has been featured in film and television. Current Miss America, Nina Davuluvi, performed Bollywood dancing as part of her competition. Davuluvi was the first to perform this dance in the Miss American pageant.

The Diwali celebration at the convention center was open to all people regardless of religious association or cultural background.

“We are open to all and all are welcome,” said Sushumna Tandon Aggrawal, President of the Hindu Society of Minnesota.

“Being able to make a difference in socio-cultural initiatives of society has always been my dream and passion,” said Aggrawal, “I am honored to be a part of this community.”

In 2009 the Hindu Society of Minnesota inaugurated its brand new 43,000-square-foot temple located in Maple Grove. The temple took more than 5 years and $9.5 million to construct. Padmashri Muthaiah Sthapathi was the design architect of the temple. Muthaiah has designed 32 temples in the United States; the Maple Grove temple was his 25th. Muthiah has designed temples in Europe and Asia as well. The temple has a 60-foot-high tower over the east-facing front entrance. The temple contains 21 mini-temples, which represent various areas of India.

From the Hindu Temple in Maple Grove: Gold door at the entrance to the main temple, left; colorful shrines, center; and people in prayer, right. (Photo by Sharlene Handwrote)

From the Hindu Temple in Maple Grove: Gold door at the entrance to the main temple, left; colorful shrines, center; and people in prayer, right. (Photo by Sharlene Handwrote)

The opening of the 60-foot tower was celebrated over a span of multiple days and had more than 10,000 visitors. Minnesota’s Hindu temple functions as host to various activities. The temple is home to a youth school that teaches religion, culture and Hindu values, to a youth summer camp, to yoga classes and many annual religious celebrations.

To learn more about the Hindu Society of Minnesota, or their upcoming Lights Through Generations Diwali celebration, visit: www.hindumandirmn.org.

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