By Navya Sahay, Grade 12
The annual Hindu festival, Diwali, was celebrated on 4th November this year. Recently, Diwali has become more popular on a global scale with a plethora of countries partaking in this beloved festival of lights.
For the first time, the New York City World Trade Center lit up a digital mural to mark the start of Diwali. The South Asian Engagement Foundation was behind this momentous act which also included a fireworks display by the Hudson River. Many observers attribute this new initiative to the pandemic as several communities were unable to celebrate Diwali in the previous year due to the restrictions placed under lockdown. In a COVID-19 world, many have commented on the relevance of a festival that symbolizes light over darkness. US President Joe Biden's and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's posts on Diwali also focused on the theme of hope. In a surprising move, NASA posted an image of space taken by the Hubble Space telescope featuring a global cluster of lights to celebrate Diwali.
Indonesia is also known for enthusiastically reveling in the traditions of Diwali. Moreover, in Fiji, Diwali is a public holiday. In Malaysia, Diwali is known as Hari Diwali which follows rituals slightly different from those in India. In Thailand, Diwali is celebrated as Lam Kriyongh. Other countries like China, Singapore, Japan, and Taiwan have also taken part in the festivities. It is evident that Diwali has become more international over the years.