For the first time in the history, Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) has celebrated the Indian light festival, Diwali. The passengers, flight & cabin crew, visitors and airport personnel found the sight very fascinating.
“For the region and at IAD, this is the first event of its kind”, quoted by the marketing associate for Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) and the brainchild behind the celebration, Akanksha Sharma.
IAD and the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, both are being operated by the airport authority.
Dulles Airport is located in Fairfax and Loudoun counties, some 43 kms west of downtown Washington, DC and it serves over 24 mil passengers annually.
Half of the Virginia’s Indian population which equates to some 65,000 people resides together in these counties.
Capital-to-capital connection between Dulles and New Delhi was inaugurated by Air India in 2017 and thereafter there was a steady increase in passengers of Indian origin at the airport.
“The rich Indian culture was what we wanted to showcase,” said Sharma as she was hoping to lay the groundwork for a sparkling annual event by this initial effort. . “The goal is to organize the event on a huge scale. We have a lot of passengers of Indian and Asian descent who travel through our airport, and who celebrate Diwali.”
Students of the Sterling-based Nrityaki Dance Academy performed Indian dance, henna art demonstration, giveaway cookies embroidered with “Happy Diwali” and freebie international chargers were part of the Friday’s festivities.
Sneha Misra, Miss India DC pageant winner 2019, told “This event is a fantastic initiative promoting our culture in the DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia) area.”
She also stated, “Nrityaki artistes performing at Dulles Airport is something new…. Indian-Americans are always making strides in new directions.”