To the American outsider, Diwali seems to be a cross between the Fourth of July and Christmas. There are family get-togethers, gifts, and a ton of high-grade fireworks. One of the biggest Hindu holidays in Northern India, Diwali is known as the "Festival of Lights" and celebrates the story of good triumphing over evil. Diyas, or small clay lamps, filled with oil are lit to usher in the good, new clothes are donned, and sweets are shared. This year, Diwali falls on Wednesday, October 26, 2011.
Diwali is a time for family to gather, and in the case of the U.S. Embassy New Delhi Consular Section, we join with our colleagues to celebrate. The entire office staff and their families dress in their finest, festive clothes and began the event with the lighting of the Diya. Festivities included games and a fashion show, and conclude with a choreographed dance performed by both Locally Employed Staff (LES) and American diplomats to the latest Bollywood hits.
On behalf of all of us at the embassy, I extend warm Diwali wishes to all who are celebrating!