Though Diwali is a Hindu festival, people of all faiths and beliefs are welcome to participate in Diwali rituals! There are already versions of Diwali celebrated by Jains, Sikhs, and even some Buddhists. But many of the rituals are easy to perform, fun, and allow participants to reflect on the beauty of the world and the triumph of light over darkness. Diwali is a major holiday in India. It originated in India as a harvest festival centuries ago, and fresh foods and flowers are important parts of any Diwali celebration. In northern India, lamps are lit to celebrate the mythic King Rama’s defeat of Ravana, while in the south, Lord Krishna’s defeat of the demon Narakasura is marked with feast and song. Children enjoy eating chirote, a sugar-stuffed deep-fried pastry served with syrup. But Diwali is also celebrated in many places around Asia, with amazing diversity. In Malaysia, people take a relaxing oil bath known as a ganga-snana to purify themselves from past sins. In Singapore and Myanmar, big open markets can be found in the Little India districts of major cities selling sweets and sparklers. Across New Zealand, over 150,000 people celebrate in public ceremonies featuring fireworks and live concerts.
More than ever, Diwali is celebrated around the world, with some unique and fun variations. Hindu communities across the UK hold massive public events, bringing non-Hindus together to learn more about Indian culture. Carnivals and lamp parades entertain crowds in major British cities. In the US, Diwali is celebrated in Times Square, while Disneyland in California hosts Bollywood dance parties during the festival. You can join in on the fun by trying your hand at rangoli, attending a cultural festival near you, celebrating with friends and family and lighting up the nights with candles and sparklers! In these ever stressful times, bring some light to your life and celebrate Diwali with others you love!
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