By NAN Staff Writer
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Thurs. Nov. 4, 2021: Hindu Caribbean nationals across the region and in the Caribbean Diaspora joined Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and some Buddhists, notably Newar Buddhists around the world to celebrate Diwali or the Festival of Lights today.
In Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname, which has the largest Hindu populations in the varied countries and the US and Canadian Diasporas, the festival is being marked with a holiday as well as fasting, eating of only sweets and vegan foods and the lighting later this evening of diyas – small clay lamps filled with oil and a cotton wick.
In Guyana, President Irfaan Ali called it “a happy and momentous time for Hindus who observe this festival through worship, the sharing of sweets, outward expressions of kindness and the cleaning, decorating and the illumination of their homes.”
“The simple ‘diya’, so conspicuous in the observance of this sacred festival, is a powerful symbol. It reminds us of the divine spark that exists within all of us and which, when properly directed, can lead us towards enlightenment and prosperity,” he added.
US Vice President, Kamala Harris, whose roots extend to the Caribbean, also extended Diwali greetings.
“Happy Diwali to everyone celebrating the Festival of Lights here in the United States and around the world. @SecondGentleman and I extend our warmest wishes for a holiday filled with light, love, and prosperity,” she tweeted.
President Biden tweeted: “May the light of Diwali remind us that from darkness there is knowledge, wisdom, and truth. From division, unity. From despair, hope. To Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, and Buddhists celebrating in America and around the world — from the People’s House to yours, happy Diwali.”
On Wednesday in the US, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney from New York, announced that a bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives to declare Diwali, festival of lights, a federal holiday.
“I’m very, very happy and excited to be introducing the Deepavali Day Act this week alongside members of the Congressional Indian Caucus, which will enshrine Diwali into law as a federal holiday,” Maloney said at an event at the US Capitol.
The historic legislation is co-sponsored by a number of lawmakers including Indian-American Congresswoman Raja Krishnamoorthi,
Krishnamoorthi has also introduced a resolution in the US Congress recognizing the religious and historical significance of Diwali.
Maloney said that Diwali this year symbolizes the nation’s continuing journey out of the darkness of COVID-19.