Diwali Celebrations in Irving Expected to Draw Thousands

Indian New Year festivities is expected to draw about 12,000 to Irving

Thousands of North Texans are expected to participate in Indian New Year festivities in Irving on Saturday.

Diwali, which literally means "festival of lights," will be celebrated by more than one billion people around the world.

"It comes to mark the end of the Indian calendar year and, of course, the resolution and the steps one takes for the new year going forward," said Shashi Upadhyaya, BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir spokesperson.

More than 12,000 people are expected to attend the second annual Diwali Celebration throughout the day.

More than 400 volunteers prepared over the past three months to make the Mandir look its best for the festivities. Handcrafted paintings made out of colored rice and glitter are placed prominently at the entrance. Hallways are lined with information about India's contributions to the world. And a theater room will show a 45-minute film called "Mystic India Show" every hour from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m.

"We can all celebrate one another's diversity, one another's customs, and realize that there's so much we can enjoy just through education and knowledge of opening our minds in such a way," Upadhyaya said.

The exhibitions and food booths open at 12:30 p.m., and a fireworks display will take place at 8 p.m. The Mandir is located at 4601 North State Highway 161 in Irving.

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