Sadly, the first time I was introduced to Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Light, wasn't in the world religion classes I took in college. Instead, my introduction to this tremendous holiday was an episode of The Office, in which Michael Scott mistakenly believes that Diwali is the Indian equivalent of Halloween. That episode aired in 2006--the same year that 30,000 people showed up as the Dallas Fort Worth India Cultural Society introduced Dallas to the festival with their first Diwali Mela. In 2007, 50,000 people celebrated the festival at Texas Stadium. Now, I'm not saying that they should send the writer of The Office a thank-you card or anything, but the DFWICS expects this year's Diwali Mela 2008 to draw in 70,000 attendees. The event features hundreds of vendors serving samples of South Asian cuisine, a fireworks show, a concert with Bollywood celebs and a re-enactment of the 10-day clash between Lord Ram and the demon Ravan, as told in the Ramayana. And the day's festivities end with the burning of an effigy of Ravan. The festival is from 3 to 11 p.m. Saturday, and admission is free. But don't invite any zombies to a celebration of Diwali. For more information about the festival visit dfwdiwalimela.com.
Sat., Oct. 18, 3-11 p.m., 2008