Local News

No ghosts, only festival lights in neighborhoods celebrating Diwali

Posted October 30, 2019 11:07 p.m. EDT

— For most Americans, the end of October means ghosts and goblins and trick-or-treating. But for millions around the world, it means new beginnings and celebrating the triumph of good over evil.

And it calls for dressing up their homes in lights.

Diwali is a festival celebrated by Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains that takes place in October and November – right about the time American neighborhoods are speckled with Halloween spooks. Diwali dates back more than 2,500 years and is the biggest holiday of the year for those faiths.

The Harmony neighborhood in Cary, off N.C. Highway 55 and Turner Creek Road, is especially festive because of residents from India and Southeast Asia.

"It is Christmas, in a way, for Hindus," said Praveen Chand, whose home is decked out with lights.

Diwali fell on Oct. 27 this year, but the celebration traditionally lasts for five days. Families in the Harmony subdivision leave their lights up until the new year so their homes can shine through Christmas.

Ten-year-old Mehr Kapoor and her family light firecrackers and sparklers to celebrate Diwali.

"I look forward to all the parties and getting to be with my friends and to celebrate the festival with people that are close to me," she said.

Given the large Hindu population in the area, Cary hosts a Diwali festival every October at the Koka Booth Amphitheater. The day-long party features musical performances, dances and art.

"We've been putting [lights] up for so long that our neighbors just kind of know," Mehr said of the holiday, which she adding is about "happiness and having fun."

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