Sunday marks the start of Diwali.
Although it already has begun in the U.S. Capitol. There was a first-ever celebration by members of the U.S. government, complete with chanting by a Hindu priest:
The event — the first of its kind event at the Capitol Hill — was organised by the two Co-Chairs of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, Congressmen Joe Crowley and Peter Roskam in recognition of increasing presence of the Indian-American community.
The occasion was also used to highlight significance of India-US relationship.
“I have come here to say Happy Diwali,” said Nancy Pelosi, Leader of the Democratic Party in the House of Representatives.
“United States owes a great debt of gratitude to India.
Because our civil rights movement was built on the non-violent movement in India. Martin Luther King studied there, spoke there. We are blessed not only by that legacy, but also by the presence of so many Indo-Americans in our country,” Pelosi said.
“This is a truly historic event,” Crowley said.
CNN has a series of photos from past celebration.
For those who need a little reminder of the holidays tradition and meaning, we’ll eschew Wikipeida and go to about.com page:
Historically, the origin ofDiwali can be traced back to ancient India, when it was probably an important harvest festival. However, there are various legends pointing to the origin of Diwali or ‘Deepawali.’ Some believe it to be the celebration of the marriage of Lakshmi with Lord Vishnu. Whereas in Bengal the festival is dedicated to the worship of Mother Kali, the dark goddess of strength. Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed God, the symbol of auspiciousness and wisdom, is also worshiped in most Hindu homes on this day. InJainism, Deepawali has an added significance to the great event of Lord Mahavira attaining the eternal bliss of nirvana. Diwali also commemorates the return ofLord Rama along with Sita and Lakshman from his fourteen year long exile and vanquishing the demon-king Ravana. In joyous celebration of the return of their king, the people of Ayodhya, the Capital of Rama, illuminated the kingdom with earthen diyas (oil lamps) and burst crackers.
So get your house clean and get some candles. You have no excuse — Sunday’s a Moon Day. (Well, most places.)
Posted by Steve