Diwali festival set to light up Seattle Center

The Vedic Cultural Center is organizing the free event at Seattle Center. (Photo courtesy Vedic Cultural Center.)

South Asian grooves and an abundance of food, costumes and games will light up Seattle Center this Saturday, as the center hosts its annual Diwali celebration.

“Diwali: Lights of India” begins at noon and is part of the Seattle Center’s “Festál” series of 24 ethnic-cultural celebrations throughout the year. Admission is free. The Vedic Cultural Center is organizing the free event at Seattle Center.

Diwali is a Hindu festival of lights that takes place each fall to celebrate the triumph of good over evil. Diwali is officially celebrated Oct. 19, though Singapore and parts of South India recognized the holiday on Wednesday.

Deborah Daoust, Seattle Center’s spokesperson, said Festál events have become increasingly successful in 2017, and this weekend’s festivities has an expected attendance in the thousands.

“With the growing Indian community in our region, we expect a really good turnout on the weekend,” Daoust said. “Visitors should expect lots of lively music and dance.”

The Seattle Center’s event is one of several Diwali celebrations across the city, and represents an increasingly-prominent focus on the area’s Indian American population.

Indian Americans make up less than a percent of Washington state’s total population, but their presence in King County is considerably greater. According to 2010 census data, more than 7 percent of the population in Bellevue and Sammamish are of Indian descent. People of Indian descent are almost 12 percent of Redmond’s population.

While Seattle has recently seen growing participation in Diwali celebrations, the autumn festival is recognized as an official holiday in a dozen countries with significant Hindu populations, including India, Malaysia, Singapore, Trinidad and Tobago, Sri Lanka, Nepal and some areas of Pakistan.

“There’s been a real proliferation of Diwali-focused festivals happening in cities across the country this year,” Daoust said. “The Indian population in the United States and especially the Pacific Northwest has grown to the point where there are a significant number of people who celebrate this holiday.”

More information on Diwali: Lights of India can be found at seattlecenter.com/festal.