[00:00.00]More and more people in America are celebrating the Indian holiday Diwali.
[00:07.86]Diwali is Hindi for “row of lights.”
[00:12.67]It is the most important holiday in India.
[00:17.62]Although it began as a Hindu observance, almost everyone in the country celebrates the Festival of Lights.
[00:28.88]Many people around the world are beginning to as well.
[00:34.59]The United States is one of the places where the festival is becoming more common.
[00:42.39]Diwali celebrations can now be found at American landmarks like Disneyland in California and New York City’s Times Square.
[00:57.67]They are also held in many parks and museums.
[01:01.70]Neeta Bhasin established the Times Square event.
[01:08.06]She said Indian immigrants have found great success in America.
[01:14.62]But, she said, many Americans still do not know much about India.
[01:22.03]So, she decided to act.
[01:26.51]“I felt it’s about time that we should take India to mainstream America and showcase India’s rich culture, heritage, arts and diversity to the world,” she said.
[01:43.14]“And I couldn’t find a better place than the center of the universe: Times Square.”
[01:50.27]Bhasin came to the United States from India 40 years ago.
[01:57.95]She is president of ASB Communications, the marketing firm behind Diwali at Times Square.
[02:08.06]Tens of thousands of people attend the event, now in its fourth year.
[02:16.02]The 2017 celebration takes place October 7.
[02:22.77]There will be dance performances, Bollywood singers, a marketplace for Indian food and goods, and, of course, a lighting ceremony.
[02:36.69]In India, Diwali is a five-day harvest festival held just before the Hindu New Year.
[02:47.08]The exact dates change from year to year but Diwali is always in the fall.
[02:55.42]Celebrations include lighting oil lamps or candles called diyas.
[03:04.37]The lights represent, in Bhasin’s words, “a victory of knowledge over ignorance, light over darkness, good over evil.”
[03:17.23]A Diwali celebration will light up Disney California Adventure Park in Anaheim this year.
[03:26.56]Visitors can watch performances of traditional Indian dances and take part in a Bollywood dance party.
[03:37.61]The event is part of a Festival of Holidays program at the theme park to show cultural traditions from around the world.
[03:49.54]The program takes place November 10th through January 7th.
[03:56.67]San Antonio, Texas, also holds a Diwali celebration.
[04:03.28]And it is one of the nation’s largest, with more than 15,000 people in attendance each year.
[04:14.24]The 2017 festival takes place November 4 at La Villita, a historic arts village.
[04:24.86]It will be the city’s ninth Diwali celebration. Visitors can enjoy Indian dance, food, and fireworks.
[04:37.13]Organizers also plan to float hundreds of lighted candles in the San Antonio River, along the city’s famous River Walk.
[04:50.62]I’m Caty Weaver.