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Arts & Culture

Coming Soon To Alamo Plaza, A Festival Of Lights, Food And Action

From time immemorial, Hindus have celebrated Diwali, the “Festival of Lights,” sometime between the middle of October to mid-November each year. This year, the Alamo City is taking that celebration forward, with a fete at the Alamo Plaza being billed as the biggest of its kind in the country. 

It’s called Diwali, the Festival of Lights, and Martha Henry, with the City of San Antonio’s International Relations Office, tells us it’s “a triumph of good over evil.”

“And it’s a joyous celebration of Indian culture. Here in San Antonio, it’s actually the largest city-sanctioned Diwali in the entire country. We have between 10,000-15,000 people come downtown. And this time, for the first year, we’re going to have it at Alamo Plaza.”

The whole thing starts with a parade.

“We have this glorious festival of lights downtown with a parade of states.”

India, like the United States, has a federal system of government, with a central government, and individually governed states. Unlike the U.S. though, many of the states have their own different languages, and a variety of cuisines peculiar to that particular state, not just a region.

“Each of those individual states has their traditional dress. And people will walk throughout the Alamo Plaza wearing the dress. There’ll be a parade. There’ll be drums and music, and there’ll also be, in addition to this parade of states, amazing food. There’ll be dancing. There’ll be henna tattoos available, shopping, a lot of local Indian food vendors will be here as well.”

The Alamo Plaza celebration is taking place about a week after the actual festival itself; Diwali this year was over Oct. 22 and 23.

“The [San Antonio] Diwali Festival will be celebrated on Nov. 1, in front of the Alamo in Alamo Plaza. There will be light shows. It’s going to be a rather amazing surprise. Another important thing they do is release diyas. Diyas are small candles and that’s kind of a lovely tradition that has been fostered here with our connection to water. And they have available floating candles, and you can light them and release them. And it’s just a stunning, beautiful visual. It’s educational, it’s entertaining, and it’s just tons of fun.”

For more on Diwali, go here.