Just like Christmas in the West, Diwali is turning into a festival connecting family, friends and it’s also about spending quality time together. The festival of lights is celebrated by nearly a billion people around the world and by more than two million people in the US. Three men introduced the festival of Diwali to Americans in 1893 from the Indian subcontinent – Virchand Gandhi, Anagarika Dharmapala and Swami Vivekananda, each presented the cultural significance of India at the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago.
Not only is Diwali celebrated by Indians living in India, but by the Indian diaspora spread over different towns and cities of the world. In the US, more and more Indian-Americans can be seen taking the Diwali day off from work/business to be with their family and friends. Recently, in Washington, around 1,200 people from across the US, including powerful lawmakers, diplomats and recognized Indian-Americans could be seen attending the largest-ever Diwali celebrations going on at the US Capitol.
The event was also an occasion to motivate the Indian community for taking up the issuance of a postal stamp by US Postal Service. So far, 10,000 people have written letters to the US Postal Service, urging it to issue a postal stamp for Diwali.
There are also celebrations in the White House and it reflects upon the presence of the Indian American community. Diwali is also an occasion to honor the sentiments of a peaceful and prosperous community. I have a feeling that Diwali will become an unofficial holiday like Hannukah has become for the Jewish community, and we will have a Diwali stamp too. What do you think? Share your thoughts with me.