Yesterday was the Diwali Festival in New York City's South Street Seaport - known as the "Festival of Lights" in the Hindu, Sikh and Jain religions, it is one of the most celebrated holidays in India. Every year, South Street Seaport hosts the festival with two performance stages, music, street vendors, food vendors, henna artists, and more! Always a lot of fun, and depending on the weather, it can either be a delightful Indian summer or a blistery and windy fall - yesterday's weather was the latter. The first stage, situated right by the tall ships, featured some young bharatanatyam dancers - very talented! Classical Indian dance is an extremely difficult and precise art form that takes years and years of training - well done, ladies!
A break from the performances, I wandered around to the other side of the festival where I devoured some rice and paneer (cheese) in a spicy, red stew, followed by deliciously sweet gulab jamun. Heavenly! There were also some beautiful bangles and other gold jewelry on display for sale - you can never have too many bangles!
The second performance stage featured dancers from Bollywood Axion, a dance group based in New York City lead by Pooja Narang. Bollywood Axion offers classes in NYC, and her dancers performed energetic Bhangra and Bollywood pieces. The great thing about these classes is that Indian dance is spreading across cultures - not everyone dancing was necessarily of South Asian descent, so everyone is welcome to join!