A symbol of Surya (Sun) and Agni (fire), the lamp plays a very important role in life in India. It is an essential form of worship believed to carry one’s prayer to God. At every stage of life lamps are lit to celebrate the eternal life force. Indian philosophy calls the soul a self-lighted torch. “The flame of the lamp is likened to the Supreme Self.”

San Diego’s fifth annual Diwali celebration will showcase Indian food, culture and activities, including lamp lighting where 12 different types of lamps many of them are recreated from ancient designs, will be lit. 1,008 small lamps, similar to the ones used in India during Diwali celebrations will be lit in celebration.

This annual festival depicts victory of virtue over vice. Indian epics portray this concept in many ways and the festival celebrates these victories by presenting cultural traditions of India through the prism of different states. Each state will have a specific space along El Prado Blvd. People originally from these states will share their cultural traditions from 4 p.m. to 5.30 p.m. A cultural performance drawn from various states of India will be presented on the stage in Organ Pavilion from 6-7:30 p.m. Following that, there will be a controlled participatory folk dance for 20 minutes. The lamp lighting will take place at 6:15 p.m.  in Organ Pavilion.

This ode to the Sun is conceived by San Diego Indian American Society and presented by San Diego Indian American Society, Mingei International Museum, San Diego Museum of Art and Committee for Arts of Indian Subcontinent, India associations, and San Diego Museum of Man. Ticket prices include admission to the Mingei Museum, the San Diego Museum of Art and the San Diego Museum of Man at Balboa Park.

Sunday, October 21. 3:30 p.m. -8 p.m. Balboa Park, 1549 El Prado, San Diego. manish@1parikhs.com, ram.seshan@yahoo.com, sudesh_kumar@hotmail.com. Tickets: $5 per person or $15 for a family of four.

Vandana Kumar is a publishing executive with a 36-year track record in the industry. She leads the India Currents Foundation as President and CEO. As a new immigrant, she co-founded India Currents magazine...