Many first- and second-generation residents from India enjoy dancing and performing on stage. They’ve had a special stage performance annually for 18 years in San Joaquin County, but this time they held their annual Diwali Night in Lodi.
Some 106 children and teens performing Saturday night at Hutchins Street Square to celebrate one of India’s happiest times of the year.
Although a majority of the dancers are Hindu, the Diwali holiday isn’t a religious observance, according to Daksha Vaid, leader of the cultural committee for the Indian Association of San Joaquin County. Instead, Diwali Night is a cultural performance.
Diwali is a holiday that is India’s equivalent to Christmas, according to Ramesh Dharawat, a board member for the county Indian association. Dharawat, a Hindu, said the holiday will be observed on Nov. 13, when family and friends get together, and older relatives give presents to the children.
The only religious part of Diwali will be when Dharawat and other Hindus go to the Hindu temple in Morada to pray. The rest of the day is celebrating life.
Saturday’s dance at Hutchins Street Square is a celebration of the Indian holiday, said Yachve Patti, 13, of Stockton. She’s watched Diwali Night since she was 5.
Patti’s sister, Amisha Patti, 11, said she started watching Diwali Night when she was three. She lived in India for three years when she was a baby before moving to Stockton.
“I love dancing,” Amisha Patti said. “Every year, I wanted to dance, too.”
Though she loves to perform on stage, Amisha Patti doesn’t plan dancing as a career.
“I’m still thinking, but I actually want to be an animal doctor,” she said. “I love animals.”
Children and teens dressed in bright, colorful outfits while dancing. They wore bright red, green, yellow and other colors.
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.