Diwali 2022: On October 20, New York City’s Mayor, Eric Adams announced that from 2023, NYC will celebrate Diwali, the major Hindu festival, as a public school holiday.
He said that this "long overdue" move would encourage children to learn more about the Festival of Lights.
The festival of lights, popularly known as Diwali, is one of the most important festivals for Hindus. It is celebrated to commemorate the victory of good over evil forces. The word itself means “the lights.”
Also known as Deepavali or Divali, it involves the lighting of lamps or diyas and the exchange of sweets and gifts.
However, this grandiose Hindu festival is celebrated not only in India but all over the world.
Several countries in Asia and the west celebrate Diwali.
This prompts the following question:
Is Diwali Celebrated In America?
America has a huge population of Indian immigrants, around 4 million. These American Indians go all out to celebrate Diwali in America.
In 2002, the festival was celebrated in the White House for the first time and in 2007, the American government gave official recognition to the festival.
Since then, Diwali has been celebrated on a grand scale in America.
In fact, in 2021, the US government introduced the Diwali Day Act to declare the festival a federal holiday.
In America, Diwali is celebrated mainly in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Houston, Washington DC, Boston, Philadelphia, Detroit, Miami, Atlanta, Dallas, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, Denver, Las Vegas, Orlando, Charlotte, Northern Virginia, Tampa Bay and Austin.
Every year on Diwali, the US Embassy is decorated with lights and diyas. The Hudson River in New York, where Indian Americans traditionally gather and celebrate together, is another location where firework displays take place. A Diwali celebration is also organized at the World Trade Center.
Why Is Diwali Celebrated?
Diwali is a five-day long festival celebrated to commemorate Rama, the revered Hindu deity's, ultimate victory over the evil spirit Ravana and his victorious return to his home with Sita, which occurred after a long exile.
In this beautiful festival, Lord Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi are worshipped for prosperity and blessings. Families gather together for the celebration, exchange sweets and gifts with each other, and burst firecrackers.
This year, a grand 3-day celebration of Diwali will take place at several places in America. Even educational institutions like the University of California celebrate the Festival of lights on their campuses. This year, Diwali falls on Oct 24, 2022, and the festivities have also begun.