One of the most popular and important festivals of Hinduism, Diwali, which symbolizes the spiritual “victory of light over darkness,” falls on Monday, October 24 this year.
While clay lamps and firecrackers are common sights during Diwali, the Hindu festival is celebrated in varied ways in different parts of the world.
For the Indian community in Pasadena, Diwali is a time where family and friends gather to pray to the gods, Lakshmi and Ganesha, said Jagdish Rajgor, Priest at Hindu Temple of Pasadena.
According to Rajgor, Diwali will be celebrated for three days in Pasadena from October 22-24. During these days, anybody can come for free to the Pasadena Hindu Temple, located at 676 South Rosemead Boulevard.
Dhanteras, the first day that marks the festival of Diwali, will be observed on October 22 and Kali Chaudas and Hanuman Puja will be observed on October 23.
On the main day of Diwali on October 24, an even larger celebratory ritual in honor of the Hindu Goddess Lakshmi will be performed from 6:30-8:30 p.m.
During the festival, people hang lights outside and inside their houses. People attending the celebration wear traditional Indian clothes, according to Rajgor.
Rajgor said traditional sweets will be served during the celebration and sharing of sweets is a common practice.
While some countries celebrate Diwali with fireworks, Rajgor said there will be no fireworks for the celebration in Pasadena because it is not allowed in the city.
While Pasadena will celebrate it for three days, other cities and countries celebrate it for over five days.
Traditionally on day one, people clean their homes and shop for gold or kitchen utensils for good fortune. On day two, people decorate their homes with clay lamps and create design patterns called rangoli on the floor using colored powders or sand.
On day three, the main day of the festival, families gather together for Lakshmi puja, a prayer to Goddess Lakshmi, followed by mouth-watering feasts. The evening is filled with fireworks and festivities.
Day four is considered the first day of the new year, when friends and relatives visit with gifts and best wishes for the season. During day five, brothers visit their married sisters, who welcome them with a lavish multi course meal.
“The Hindu Temple of Pasadena was established in 2002 by 10 devotees living in Southern California. The temple has become a Hub for Indian Heritage and place for Hindu worship. It is now known as HTHF (Hindu Temple and Heritage Foundation), a non-profit organization. The Temple organizes weekly classes for preserving and promoting Indian traditions and Hindu culture in young kids,” according to the temple.
For more information about Pasadena Hindu Temple and its upcoming activities, visit: https://www.thepasadenahindutemple.org