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Sunnyvale, Santa Clara Celebrate Diwali

While it took a little bit of adjustment, local cities were still able to celebrate this year’s Diwali.

In Sunnyvale, the city worked with the PAMPA Dance Academy to create a 30-minute video highlighting some of the classical Indian dance forms.

“Diwali means festival of lights. This festival celebrates victory over evil while uplifting the spiritual darkness,” Nirmala Madhava, the Creative Director of PAMPA Dance Academy, said at the beginning of the video. “This festival is held in honor of goddess Lakshmi, who is the goddess of wealth and prosperity.”


Madhava helped choreograph the group dances featured in video, while Guru Narmada and Dr. Maya Rao choreographed the solo dances.

Saarini Madhava, who helped put the video together says it was all done within the guidelines of COVID-19. The group dances were filmed before the stay at home order in March and everyone who filmed the solo dances wore masks during the filming.

Saarini Madhava says sharing this important cultural experience with the Sunnyvale community was a very humbling experience.

“I think it just makes us really proud to know that we have the community’s support and encouragement,” said Saarini Madhava. “I know that we are very blessed, especially since we’re in the Silicon Valley, which I feel like is an area where a lot of cultures have congregated. So, I feel like we’re very blessed that we can share each other’s cultures, and especially significant events within that culture.”

The City of Sunnyvale has posted the PAMPA Dance Academy’s Diwali performance on its Facebook page.

In Santa Clara, hundreds of people tuned in for the Northside Branch Library’s virtual Diwali celebration. Previous, in-person events have featured dancing, singing and crafts. Since that wasn’t possible this year, the library found another way to celebrate.

“We hosted a puppet show called The King’s Problem,” said a library spokesperson. “The puppet show was based on tales of The Panchatantra, which is four tales of wonder and enchantment that teaches young children how to handle problems. We partnered up with The Puppet Company to offer this program to our customers.”

While the library didn’t receive the volume of attendees as it has in years past, it did have the extra benefit of bringing families together.

“The online Diwali event allowed all family members to celebrate together in different time zones and countries while also practicing social distancing and staying safe. Many attendees told us that they watched the show from the United Kingdom, New York, Australia, and more,” said the library spokesperson.

Attendees appreciated the effort.

“It was such a cute and wonderful event! We loved it! Thanks so much for hosting,” said Neha Tripathi.


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