As a columnist for The Post covering political issues, 99 percent of the time my articles are pretty depressing. Why? Well, it could be due to the fact that the United State’s (and the rest of our world’s for that matter) political atmosphere has been relatively bleak with few instances of optimism. Particularly with the news of the Las Vegas shootings, the hurricanes that have rocked the Southern portion of the US and Puerto Rico and the continuing harrowing opioid epidemic, it’s been a rough month. Therefore, I am going to try and write something positive and uplifting for this week’s column, and what better way to do that then to write about the Hindu Festival of Lights, otherwise known as Diwali.

Every autumn, millions of people worldwide celebrate this important festival. One of the biggest misconceptions of Diwali is that it can only be celebrated by Hindus; Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains also celebrate this holy festival (with certain variations according to their own respective traditions). Globally, it is an official holiday recognized in India, Fiji, Guyana, Malaysia, Nepal, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Singapore, Myanmar and Sri Lanka. Spiritually, the holiday is one that recognizes the concepts of light over darkness and how good defeats evil. It is also commemorates the return of Rama to his kingdom after a long period of exile. Rama is the lord or virtue and a major deity within Hinduism. The epic is known as Ramayana.

A notable fact about Diwali is that the date of this holiday is one that changes every year. Along with many other Indian festivals, Diwali is essentially celebrated according to the Hindu calendar which is calculated according to the position of the moon. In this case, Diwali is based on the new moon on the 15th day during the Hindu month of Kartika. While the festival lasts five days, the rituals and ceremonies are prepared months in advance. Numerous households are decorated with oil lamps known as diyas and colorful artwork designs known as rangolis

There are certain things in this world that bring a smile to my face. Belgian chocolate ice cream, listening to Kendrick Lamar’s classic 2013 album Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City and the Golden State Warriors blowing a 3-1 lead during the 2016 NBA Finals are examples of this. However, the annual celebration of Diwali brings a smile to my face wider than Kanye West’s ego. As I am writing this, the beautiful memories of running around in temple yelling “Happy Diwali” to random people and lighting sparklers with some of my closest friends are reappearing in my mind. Diwali is a time where everyone celebrates together with pure joy and delight regardless of your feelings towards someone or something. 

So to anyone reading this, Happy Diwali. You don’t have to be Hindu for me to wish you triumph and prosperity; everyone deserves light, especially during such dark times. 

Akash Bakshi is a freshman studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Do you celebrate Diwali? Let Akash know by tweeting him@akashmbakshi.

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