For the first time, the iconic Empire State Building was lit orange in celebration of Diwali. The world famous structure turned orange on Wednesday night as Indians across the world celebrated the festival of lights. The Federation of Indian Associations (FIA), the largest non-profit umbrella organisation in the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut of the Indian community, lit up the monument in a special ceremony.
It was organised by the FIA in cooperation with the Empire State Realty Trust and attended by key members of the Indian diaspora. A special dance performance and cultural show was also presented on the occasion.
Federation of Indian Associations President Srujal Parikh said this was the first time that Diwali celebration lit up the iconic building and was "witnessed by thousands of people, including tourists from all over the world."
At the November 7 ceremony, Miss America 2014 Nina Devuluri and popular singer Jay Sean along with Srujal Parikh flipped the switch to turn on the orange lights on top of the Empire State Building.
The Empire State Realty Trust or ESRT and the FIA have been illuminating the Empire State Building in August every year in the colours of the Indian tricolour - orange, white and green - for the past two decades to mark India's Independence Day.
The FIA said such gestures by the ESRT help in spreading the ancient Indian philosophy of Vasudeva Kutumbakam (the world is one family) and also demonstrates a great harmony in spirit and deeds between people of the world's largest and oldest democracies.
For Srujal Parikh, that was the central message when he organised the India Day parade this year, bringing together for the first time communities from other South Asian and Caribbean nations.