Diwali, the Festival of Lights, is India’s most-loved festival. It falls in the month of October and brings together people of not just the Hindu faith, but of all faiths to celebrate the simple idea that good always triumphs over evil.
While it is a festival that means different things to different people – from the mythical slaying of the demon Narkasura by Lord Krishna and the end of the exile of the Pandava princes to the return to the kingdom of Ayodhya by the God-king Rama, after defeating his wife’s abductor, the evil Ravana – this festival binds people in marking new beginnings. It is a time when all is forgiven and forgotten, a time to spruce up homes in a symbolic cleansing of negativity, and a time to don new clothes to represent a shedding of old ways and thoughts. To celebrate Diwali is to retain that last vestige of Indian-ness, wherever one lives on this planet.
Thus, it was only natural that the North Carolina Triangle’s Indian community would come together under the Hum Sub banner for a Diwali fest. Our first Cary Diwali was held in 2000 at the Herb C. Young Community Center and attracted a record crowd of over 2500 people. Both the Town of Cary and Hum Sub realized they would need a bigger venue to host this event and the new Koka Booth Amphitheatre seemed like a good fit. Since then, Cary Diwali has come a long way, growing in both quality and popularity. In 2022, Cary Diwali was rebranded as Hum Sub Diwali (HD) to welcome patrons from all around the Triangle area and to align with our community outreach goals. It is now the biggest free-to-attend event of its kind in the southeastern United States, routinely attracting crowds upwards of 15,000 people.
The daylong event features cultural dances put up by the many talented performers and dance schools of the Triangle area and beyond. The HD stage is a much sought-after performing stage for both up and coming and established dance schools. Cultural items are carefully curated through a rigorous audition process involving experienced and neutral judges. The dazzling performances and dramatic costumes are as much a tribute to our reputed dance schools as to the many young and creative teen choreographers who only seem to be raising the bar every year.
The evening headline performer is always a highlight of HD, where we present performers from the US and abroad. Some examples include Oscar-winning singer Mahalaxmi Iyer, the much-revered Kavita Krishnamurthy and Sadhana Sargam, and the ever-popular Alisha Chinai and Ila Arun, just to name a few. The “Who is it going to be this time” buzz generates much excitement in the community in the months leading up to October!
No Diwali event can be complete without shopping and HD makes sure this happens by offering a platform for numerous businesses to present their wares, such as ethnic clothing, personal and home accessories, and exotic handicrafts, to hordes of eager shoppers. No Indian event can be complete without food, and this is taken care of by some of the area’s most popular restaurants who try to bring something new every year, while also offering all the old favorites, to all our hungry visitors.
Our Diwali event is not considered complete without a mention of our exhibition that showcases some carefully chosen aspect of Indian culture through artifacts, photographs, displays and interactive elements, and has been attracting much interest. Of late, we have made an attempt to synchronize the exhibition with the HD theme. Partnerships with regional associations have been explored to provide them the stage and showcase the variety India has to offer. Our exhibitions in the past on various Indian dimensions have both entertained and informed and led to interesting conversations and interactions with our diverse audience.
Diwali is the festival of lights. The day’s grand finale is a dazzling display of fireworks, which is eagerly anticipated by both the young and young-at-heart.
Hum Sub makes special accommodation for senior citizens and others with specific needs to make it possible for everyone to partake of the fun!