NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – One of the most important festivals of the year for many Indians around the world is fast approaching.
A recent Pew Research study found seven in ten Indian-Americans celebrate Diwali.READ MORE: New York Weather: CBS2’s 1/19 Wednesday Morning Forecast
Indians around the world will be lighting fireworks this week to mark the festival.
Also known as the Festival of Lights, the five day holiday signifies the triumph of good over evil.
Anuja Khemk and her family look forward to the festival all year.
“It’s our biggest festival. It’s a chance to get in touch with family and friends,” Khemk told CBS2.
A time for joy, celebrants clean their homes, cook, buy each other gifts, spend time with family, and visit their places of worship.
“It’s really a celebration and really getting community together.”
Homes are transformed with light. Those who celebrate will fill their homes with candles and lamps. The flames symbolize filling the home with prosperity, sharing, happiness, and the importance of light over darkness.READ MORE: Islanders Win In Shootout, Hand Flyers 9th Straight Loss
Diwali is observed by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, and even some Buddhists and Muslims.
Prof. Simran Jeet Singh says one billion people celebrate worldwide, but there are different meanings for different religions.
“The one thread that ties it all together is the idea of liberation. That all these communities on this day celebrating righteousness,” Prof. Singh explained.
Events are planned throughout the Tri-state area, including at the Bhakti Center in Manhattan.
For the second year, the Hindu temple will host a Diwali event on Sunday which will be open to all.
“I remember my grandmother telling me that Diwali was the one time that everyone in the streets, no matter what religion, what belief, went to each other’s homes, had dinner together… went to each other’s places of worship, cleaned, and decorated. A festival of unity,” Karuna Gauranga of the Bhakti Center said.
“It’s really getting rid of negativity in your mind. Having a positive outlook on your life for the year,” Khemk said.MORE NEWS: Towns' Three-Point Play Helps Wolves Edge Knicks
Diwali culminates this Sunday, Oct 27.