San Antonio’s annual celebration of Indian culture and traditions, Diwali San Antonio Festival of Lights, will once again set downtown San Antonio aglow on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012 at Hemisfair Park from 5-10 p.m.
Co-hosted by the City of San Antonio and Anuja SA, the Chennai Sister City local nonprofit organization, Diwali San Antonio Festival of Lights features traditional Indian dance, entertainment, food and crafts. New this year, the festival will feature dance performances at the Instituto Cultural de Mexico at San Antonio and the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, San Antonio facilities in Hemisfair. The highlights include the releasing of lighted candles, known as diyas, into the fountains of Hemisfair Park and a fireworks display. Diwali (also known as Deepavali) is a significant festival celebrated in India recognizing the victory of good over evil.
Diwali San Antonio Festival of Lights has grown, since its inception in 2009, to become the largest celebration of Indian culture in Texas and is the largest City-sanctioned Diwali celebration in the U.S. In 2011, the event attracted approximately 15,000 people.
“The City of San Antonio looks forward each year to co-hosting the Diwali San Antonio Festival of Lights to provide residents and visitors with a meaningful, cultural experience in the heart of our city,” said Mayor Julián Castro. “As San Antonio’s Diwali festival continues to grow, we are also proud to celebrate the important partnership and continuous cultural exchange that has resulted from our Sister-City Agreement with Chennai.”
Diwali San Antonio Festival of Lights is a free event that showcases the City’s Sister-City Agreement with Chennai, India, signed in 2008. Diwali San Antonio Festival of Lights is the only major celebration showcasing Indian culture in San Antonio. Since signing a Sister City Agreement with Chennai, the City, especially through its International Relations Office, has committed to providing residents and visitors with creative cultural programming.
“Diwali San Antonio 2012 will be bigger and better than ever. We have been receiving calls from all over the U.S. asking us when the event will be this year so they can plan a trip to San Antonio at that time,” said Kausi Subramaniam with Anuja SA.
In July, Diwali San Antonio Festival of Lights was honored with the Sister Cities International’s 2011 Innovation: Arts & Culture Award for a city with a population of more than 500,001. Sister Cities International, which facilitates nearly 2,000 partnerships in 136 countries on six continents among 600 communities in the U.S. with similar municipalities abroad, recognizes the accomplishments of outstanding community and individual sister city programs that promote peace through mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation with its annual Innovation Awards.
For more information on Diwali San Antonio, visit http://diwalisa.com/ or call the City’s International Relations Office at (210) 207-8100.