Huntington Town Celebrates First-Ever Diwali Ceremony

by Niall Fitzgerald

The Town of Huntington celebrated the first-ever Diwali ceremony at Town Hall last Friday, with over 150 residents attending and several Hindu and Jain temples co-sponsoring the event,

"We welcome you here to Town Hall for this historic first celebration of Diwali," stated Huntington Town Supervisor Ed Smyth. "We also did something historic this year in appointing Deborah Misir as the first Indian-American Town Attorney on Long Island."

Diwali is celebrated by the Hindu, Jain, Sikh and some Buddhist communities in South Asia and the diaspora South Asian communities around the world.

"Diwali symbolizes the spiritual victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance," said Town Attorney Deborah Misir. "And we are so glad to welcome our thriving South Asian community here to your Town Hall."

The five-day long Diwali festival originated in the Indian subcontinent and is mentioned in early Sanskrit texts.

During the festival, Hindus, Jains and Sikhs illuminate their homes, temples and work spaces with oil lamps , candles and lanterns, and share sweets and tea to symbolize the holiday.

In many communities, Diwali is also marked with fireworks and the decoration of floors with geometric designs called rangoli. Food is a major focus with families partaking in feasts and sharing sweets.

The festival is an annual homecoming and bonding period not only for families, but also for communities and associations.