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Edited because Diwali is also celebrated by Sikhs, Jains and some South Asian Buddhists and Muslims, though for different reasons.

It’s Diwali, Hinduism’s festival of lights. This is the biggest holiday of the year in India, and Hinduism is the world’s third largest religion, but most Americans probably haven’t heard of it unless they live somewhere with a significant Indian diaspora population. For a U.S. cultural reference, it’s sort of like Christmas/Hanukkah (lighting lamps, decorations, giving gifts) & Thanksgiving (gratitude, overeating) had a baby, coinciding with Halloween for good measure. Check out these photos, provided by my husband’s cousin in Mumbai, showing some homemade Rangoli sand art and other household decorations.

Here’s a gist of how America’s 2+ million Hindus, Sikhs and Jains are celebrating Diwali:

 

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