Instead of hosting the Annual Diwali motorcade that attracts thousands of Indo-Caribbean nationals in Richmond Hill, the Divya Jyoti Association Inc. in partnership with the Queens Economic Development Corporation, (QEDC) on Nov. 7, presented “Let’s Light Up Liberty Avenue” — an illuminated Happy Diwali sign, unveiled over the thoroughfare at 133rd Street.
Lakshmee Singh and organizers, who postponed the parade due to the coronavirus Ppandemic, additionally, staged a limited celebration, bringing beams of light to the intersection of 133rd Street and Liberty Avenue, where the media, and a CDC mandated small gathering enjoyed a performance by international superstar, Terry Gajraj.
The most popular Hindu festival observed over five days during the Hindu Lunisolar month Kartika, and symbolizes the spiritual victory of light over darkness and good over evil, was showcased with a vibrant choreography by the Natraj Center for Performing Arts dancers.
The festive occasion began with the arrival of the bejeweled Maa Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity, portrayed by Steffinie Komala Karamchand, and celebrated by the Laksh Sanasani Cultural Organization dancers, Feona, Vicky and Stephanie, led by Akash Singh, in a classical Indian piece. This fiery display lit up the celebration, and thrilled the audience.
Diwali that will officially be commemorated on Nov.14 was blessed by Pandit Chunelall of the Shri Trimurti Bhavan, and honored with the lighting of the sacred lamp by Dolly and Lall Singh, parents of Lakshmee Singh.
Dr. Dhanpaul Narine, community leader and educator praised the festival’s significance and longevity in the community and the world at large.
Emceed by Laksmee Singh, host of “Lets Talk With Lakshmee,” and prominent voiceover artist, and movie maker and director, Kishore Seunarine, the observance received an inspiring message from Vijah Ramjattan, president of the United Madrassi Association Inc. who called for a resolution to be passed to proclaim Diwali a national holiday.
Councilmember of District 28, Adrienne E. Adams, in turn, extended Happy Diwali greetings to the gathering, noting, it was a glorious day for democracy, on the same day, “we are celebrating triumph over evil and the revitalizing of Richmond Hill.”
“It is a tough time for all of us, but we will overcome it and continue to celebrate this beautiful festival of lights for generations to come,” said the politician.
Newly elected Assemblyman Khaleel Anderson of District 38, Khyume Khan, representative of the NYC Corrections DESI Society, and the Guyanese American Law Enforcement Association, and others, shared messages of hope to commemorate the Diwali festival.
Lakshmee Singh, who was dressed in a dazzling black and gold sari, matching her committee members, expressed sincere thanks to Nirvana Humanitarian Foundation, Shanta Flowers and Top Notch Décor, for their generous contributions.
Diwali gift bags were donated by SHAKTI saree and spiritual store, and sweets by KP’S Catering. Abee Chunes Radio played a major role in providing entertainment and logistics, while Sham and Sam Chuli from New Jersey volunteered their time.
Six Star Auto’s Ron Singh, Brenda Reddick of the Community Affairs Department of the 106 Police Precinct, and the Caribbean Rhythm Tassa Group that put on a grand finale performance, helped to make the event a success.
Singh also issued special thanks to Ricardi Calixte, deputy director, (QEDC), and the Queens Arts Center that provided a grant to purchase the Diwali lights.
Three additional holiday lights decorate Lefferts Blvd., outside the A-subway station, 124 and 127th streets.