Diwali: Festival Of Lights

diwali_bDiwali, or Deepavali, is the festival of lights and the time to celebrate the victory of light over darkness, good over evil and hope over despair with candles, fireworks and art. Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs or Jains will celebrate the holiday that marks the start of the fiscal year in India on Oct. 30. In the communities and countries where it is observed, millions of lights will shine into the sky from rooftops and windows. There are five days of preparation leading up to the major Hindu holiday, which occurs on the darkest new moon night of the Hindu calendar.

On the night of Diwali, people light up diyas, lamps or candles, both inside and outside of their homes. Families participate in puja, or prayer, traditionally to Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity and fertility. Fireworks precede mithai, a family feast, and then gifts are exchanged among family and friends.

Rangoli is also popular during the Hindu festival. It is an art form in which patterns are created on living room floors or courtyards using colored rice, flour, sand or flower petals. The designs are passed down from generation to generation and are thought to bring good luck.

Although NYC held its largest Diwali festival, Diwali Times Square 2016, on Oct. 16 with performances and fireworks to light up the night, Diwali can be celebrated at the Legislative Chambers at 1550 Franklin Ave. in Mineola on Nov. 5, at 6:30 p.m. Organized by the Indian American Forum, the event will feature entertainment by Nartan Rang Dance Academy of Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan.

Arya Samaj of Long Island will hold its annual fundraiser, An Enchanting Evening of Melodious Hindi Songs and Deepavali Gala Dinner at Akbar Restaurant on 2 South St., Garden City. The event will be held on Nov. 6 at 6:30 p.m.

For more information on the Diwali celebration in Mineola, contact Indu Jaiswal at 516-248-7241. For more information on the Arya Samaj of Long Island fundraiser, contact Veer Mukhi at 917-715-1974.

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Christina Claus
Christina Claus is the former editor of Port Washington News.

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