Indian Americans, more than four million of them, are celebrating the holiday of Diwali, the annual five-day festival of lights that began Saturday and is, probably, the only Hindu holiday many non-Indian Americans ever hear about.
The story behind the holiday is different for people from different regions of India, but regardless of the prince or goddess that may be involved in anyone’s telling, the holiday’s essence is the triumph of good over evil.
But although Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains may light lamps this year, as they would in any other year to mark the holiday, the celebrations this year are expected to be more subdued because of the coronavirus pandemic, NBC News reports.
“Covid-19 is the biggest evil right now,” the network quoted Neeta Bhasin, who has managed a Diwali event in Times Square every year since 2013, as saying, “but we realized that we needed to defeat it by following the rules and regulations while still celebrating to uplift the spirits not only of our Indian American community but for everyone who can now join in on the festivities.”
“Happy Diwali! Sparkles This festival of lights celebrates new beginnings, the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness,” The Times of India quoted actress and comedian Mindy Kaling as tweeting. “This year it feels even more meaningful.”
Heightened feelings, I assume, stem from both the deepened state of evil brought on by the pandemic and the elevated joy brought on by Kamala Harris, 56, as the first Indian-American woman to be elected vice president.