Free Diwali San Antonio Festival of Lights returns to Hemisfair in November

There will be a river parade, diya ceremony and dance performances

A free festival of lights celebrating the traditions and culture of India is returning to San Antonio this weekend.

SAN ANTONIO – A free festival of lights celebrating the traditions and culture of India is returning to San Antonio this weekend.

Diwali San Antonio Festival of Lights will return to Hemisfair from 4:30 p.m. to midnight on Saturday, Nov. 5, marking the 14th anniversary of the culture festival in the city.

The City of San Antonio and Anuja SA cohost the festival, which showcases San Antonio’s Sister-City Agreement with Chennai, India.

This year, Diwali will also mark the 75th anniversary of the foundation of the Republic of India.

Diwali San Antonio Festival of Lights will return to Hemisfair from 4:30 p.m. to midnight on Nov. 5, marking the 14th anniversary of the culture festival in the city.

Visitors will be able to experience traditional Indian dance and entertainment in addition to food and merchant booths from various parts of India, according to Visit San Antonio.

“The river parade, diya ceremony, rangoli floor art, dance performances, DJ, and fireworks will all return this year,” said Anuja SA President Kausi Subramaniam.

Diwali San Antonio (City of San Antonio)

The Anuja SA website describes the diya ceremony as a traditional candle lighting and release.

“In the beautiful tradition of Diwali in the northern part of India, tea light candles which are placed in bio-degradable leaf bowls are released into the river as you make a wish for peace, health, happiness for all,” the website states.

Diwali San Antonio (City of San Antonio)
Diwali San Antonio (City of San Antonio)

Anuja SA has played a significant role to foster relationships between San Antonio and Chennai in the areas of arts and culture, medicine, education, business and commerce, and sports and recreation, a press release states.

“DiwaliSA is a one-of-a-kind festival which brings people of all ages and walks of life to celebrate together,” said Mayor Ron Nirenberg, “It is also a time of reflection – to consider the challenges faced by ourselves and others. But the Festival of Light reminds us that no matter the difficulties, light triumphs over darkness.”

Nirenberg is expected to lead a delegation from San Antonio to India this December with two city council members including representatives of the higher education sector as well as from the local Indian community.

Diwali San Antonio (City of San Antonio)

“Together we can spread a message of compassion, peace, harmony, diversity, and inclusion. And to all those who are celebrating this joyous event, I wish you, your families and loved ones a happy Diwali,” Nirenberg said.

Attendance for Diwali San Antonio exceeded 40,000 visitors in 2019 prior to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are very excited to be presenting our full lineup of entertainment for the first time since 2019,” said Subramaniam. Come celebrate Diwali with us!”

Diwali San Antonio (City of San Antonio)
Diwali San Antonio (City of San Antonio)

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About the Authors:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.