The Ward Melville Heritage Organization hosted its first Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights, Nov. 4 at the Educational & Cultural Center in Stony Brook.
The event included performances from the Nartan Rang Dance Academy of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. Dressed in colorful costumes, the dance group demonstrated various styles and genres of Indian dance. The event also included drum performances from New York Tamil Academy. The group presented traditional Parai drumming — the oldest of the drums used in ancient times to warn citizens about upcoming war, during festivals and at special celebrations.
After the performances, attendees had the opportunity to sample a tasting menu of traditional Indian dishes including potato-filled pastries called samosa and the sweet dessert mithai.
Diwali is India’s largest holiday of the year and is usually held in October or November, and it is named from the lamps that Indians light outside their homes to symbolize the light that protects them from spiritual darkness, according to WMHO. Diwali is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains all over the world.