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Diwali: India’s Festival of Lights

Kathlene Lei Ruiz, Creative Services Intern

Every year, more than a billion people around the world celebrate Diwali, a Hindu festival of lights that marks the start of the new year. The word Diwali originates from the Sanskrit word, Deepavali, which means, “a row of lights.” People from many different cultural backgrounds and faiths observe this holiday over the course of five days. This year, Diwali will fall on Saturday, Nov. 14. During this time, candles, fireworks, and clay lamps or diyas are lit to represent light overcoming darkness.

People also decorate their homes with rangolis, which are colorful artwork made from colored powder or rice. Many like to wear new clothes and clean their homes to bring in the New Year. Food is also an important part of the holiday.

Typically, families gather together during Diwali to pray, indulge in traditional sweets, and light firecrackers. However, celebrations this year will look a little different due to the COVD-19 pandemic. People are not encouraged to gather in large groups as they usually would. However, there are many creative ways to celebrate at home.

Some temples are offering online group prayer sessions. Families are also encouraged to prepare meals at home and host virtual parties to stay connected with loved ones. Although typical Diwali celebrations will be different this year, let this be a time to bring joy amid the pandemic.

If you want to greet someone who will be celebrating, say “happy Diwali” or “saal mubarak,” which means “Happy New Year.” To those who celebrate, have a very happy and prosperous Diwali!

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Diwali: India’s Festival of Lights