October 24th is the beginning of a 5-day festival called Diwali (also called Deepavali by South Indians). It is celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and some Buddhists (Vajrayana branch, prominent in Tibet, Nepal and Japan). It is celebrated in India, Nepal, Japan, Tibet, Fiji, Guayana, Trinidad/Tobago, and some other regions in Asia, Africa, and the Islands.
The name “Diwali” comes from the Sanskrit word, Deepavali, or “deep,” meaning lamp, and “avali,” meaning row. Thus, the translation is a “row of lamps.” People light lamps or candles on the first day and keep them burning 24/7 for five days and nights. The holiday symbolizes the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance. The festivities are marked by lighting oil lamps, hanging lanterns, making colorful patterns on the floor called rangoli, preparing sweets, and most importantly, coming together with family and friends to express gratitude. Diwali represents peace, truth, and love, which are shared goals across our community, our country, and the world, as these are beliefs that can unite us in our humanity. People wish each other "Happy Diwali" or "Diwali Mubaarak". It is celebrated across the USA in all major cities.