Small firecrackers play a role in Diwali / Photo: sowri

This week Indians, and many others throughout the world, celebrated the ‘Festival of Lights.’

On Saturday, India celebrates Diwali, their traditional New Year’s, after several days of festivities. It is also known as the ‘Festival of Lights’, because homes are lit with candles, string lights, and clay pots with oil and wicks, which signify the good over evil within an individual.

I was lucky enough to be a part of a big ole’ Diwali celebration three years ago, when Non-Stop Bhangra celebrated their anniversary and this Indian holiday the same night. We danced onto the stage carrying tea lights as an example of the tradition, but I’m sure people were upset we didn’t have any sweets to throw into the audience.

Here’s a clip of that night (minus the bhangra music, unfortunately):

Here are a couple of things worth mentioning that happened to celebrate Diwali this week:

  • Seems Dhanteras, which comes right before Diwali, is considered an auspicious time. So Jaspal Singh, along with about 25,000 other people in India, waited until this day in order to buy new cars, since it is the day “considered best to buy metal goods.” I’m guessing those auto dealers are happy.
  • Even President Obama got his Hindi-celebration-on, being the first sitting President to observe the holiday by having a pah-ty in the East Wing of the White House. Wonder if he waved his hands in the air, waved ’em around like he just didn’t care?

  • Ok, this wasn’t this week, but who could forget Michael explaining Diwali to us via song on Season 3 of The Office? If you need a little reminder, check out the video.

Light a candle or two on Saturday, the official end of the holiday, to join in the fun.

Happy Diwali!

Community Connection

Check out Shreya Sanghani’s guide to 10 Indian Customs To Know Before Visiting India, and Eva Holland’s review of the popular niche travel book, Wanderlust and Lipstick for Women Traveling to India.