First official Diwali celebration on Staten Island

Members of the of Staten Island Indian community celebrated Diwali in Snug Harbor on November 3 --the first such event to be sponsored by a City Council Member in Staten Island.

Council Member Michael McMahon (D-North Shore) who was welcomed by cheers and applause by the crowd, said, "The pride of America is in its cultural diversity and the pride of its individual communities rest upon the foundation of shared experiences, cultural contribution and trust between and among the diverse group. Our Indian Community is proud of its historic contribution to the American way of life and to the life here in Staten Island, notably your community in all its diversity express itself in business, medicine, culture and arts and the Diwali festival of lights celebrates this positive force of this in Indian community. Together as one community of Staten Island we share this festival of lights, triumph of good over evil, knowledge over ignorance and light over darkness so that we may not only be happy of our own but the world at large and pledged to continue the ceremony every year."

The event began with the lighting of the lamp by Rabindranath Panda, the education consul at the Consulate General of India in New York, Michael McMahon, Gadadhara Pandit Das, priest and teacher at the Hare Krishna Temple in Manhattan, Dr. Krishne Urs, Chairman, Staten Island Hindu Temple, Banthe Kondanna, Staten Island Sri Lankan Buddist Temple and Rajiv Gowda, Council Member, District 31, NYC Community Education Council.

Following the ceremony, the guests were treated to delicious vegetarian food from Taste of India II and Diwali Sweets from Staten Island Hindu Temple.