As the seasons change and days grow shorter, the Indian Festival of Lights – Diwali – creates an uplifting moment. In Indian culture, Diwali stands for the triumph of good over evil.
The annual celebration of Diwali is a festive tradition at NEOMED. However, this year’s event (originally scheduled for Nov. 15) has been canceled due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns.
To learn more about Diwali, read the following message from Andre Burton, J.D., that was recently sent to the NEOMED community:
NEOMED is proud to be a community that includes students, faculty and staff of many different nationalities and backgrounds. The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion would like to recognize today, Nov. 4, as the start of the celebration of the Diwali holiday for millions of Hindus, Sikhs and Jains across the world.
Diwali, also known as the festival of lights, is one of the largest festivals in South Asia. It is celebrated with great grandeur across five days by people of different faiths. Traditional celebrations involve lighting earthen lamps (diyas), setting off firecrackers, creating colorful patterns (rangoli) to decorate homes, and enjoying lavish feasts with friends and family. Diwali represents new beginnings, as well as the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness.
Some important facts about Diwali:
- Diwali is celebrated on the 15th day of the Hindu month of Kartika. Hinduism is a major religion of India and is considered to be the oldest religion in the world.
- More than 800 million people celebrate this festival in various ways.
- Diwali is celebrated in honor of Lakshmi – the Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity.
- The festival also marks the return of the Lord Rama and Sita after 14 years in exile.
- Diwali is a national holiday in India, Trinidad & Tobago, Myanmar, Nepal, Mauritius, Guyana, Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Fiji. It is an optional holiday in Pakistan.
- On the same night that Diwali is celebrated, Jains celebrate a festival of lights to mark the attainment of moksha (liberation or salvation) by the spiritual leader Mahavira.
Please join me in recognizing this special holiday. May Diwali bring light, joy, and success to you and your families.
Andre Burton, J.D.
Vice President for Human Resources and Diversity