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PR- 307-04
November 16, 2004


Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg hosted a reception at Gracie Mansion in honor of the Deepavali Festival and the beginning of the Hindu New Year.  The festival is celebrated during the 7th month of the Hindu calendar (October/November) and is known as the festival of lights.  Deepavali is one of the most celebrated festivities in the Indian culture, which is celebrated for five days with each day having its own significance and rituals.  Joining the Mayor at the reception were the Consulate General of India Pramathesh Rath, President of the Association of Indians in America Dr. Urmilesh Arya, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Guillermo Linares, Community Assistance Unit Commissioner Jonathan Greenspun and other invited guest. 

"It is an honor to ring in the Hindu New Year and celebrate Deepavali at Gracie Mansion for the first time," said Mayor Bloomberg. "The Deepavali Festival's focus on unity, friendship and peace reflects the spirit of New York, where so many people from different cultures live and work and share their lives every day."      

Both Mayor Bloomberg and Dr. Urmilesh Arya delivered remarks and participated in a candle lighting ceremony which is the symbol of Deepavali and signifies good luck. 

Deepavali unites all members of the community, young and old, rich and poor.  The lighting of the lamps represents obeisance to God for attainment of health, wealth, knowledge, peace and valued fame. People give expressions to their happiness by lighting earthen diyas and decorating their houses to welcome Lakshmi- the Goddess of wealth and prosperity, bursting fire crackers and inviting their near and dear ones to their households to partake in the luxurious feast.  It is also marked as the beginning of the Hindu New Year and as a brand new beginning for all.

Food for the reception was donated by Madras Mahal Restaurant and Shaheen Sweets Restaurant.  Kingfisher Brewing Company donated beverages and Elegant Affairs provided decorations. 


Edward Skyler / Silvia Alvarez   (212) 788-2958

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