A colorful display signifying hope will soon beam inside the Cranberry Township Municipal Center.
Community members will create a Rangoli, a traditional piece of Indian art, beginning at 6 p.m. Tuesday, October 25 in the Municipal Center Square. The creation will help celebrate Diwali, a five-day festival of lights celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains across the world.
The festival symbolizes the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, and good over evil.
The art installation, created in partnership with the Cranberry Area Diversity Network, symbolizes beauty, hope and tradition.
Created with rice flour and sand and featuring geometric shapes, flowers, petals, and deity impressions, Rangoli are created to welcome Goddess Lakshmi, welcome guests and bring good luck.
Additional information on Diwali:
What is Diwali and Who Celebrates It?
Diwali or Deepavali is the Festival of Lights celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs & Jains. Deepavali is derived from Sanskrit words “deepa” meaning lamps and “avali” meaning row which essentially means “row of lamps.” It symbolizes the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness, and knowledge over ignorance. People who celebrate this festival light rows of lamps on this day to symbolize this meaning. Diwali is a public holiday in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Malaysia, Singapore, and Fiji, and it is also celebrated in many other countries including the United States.
When is Diwali observed?
Diwali falls on a new moon day and does not occur on the same day every year. This festival usually occurs in the month of October or November based on the lunar calendar and this year falls on October 25. On this new moon day, when it is very dark, people light lamps and illuminate their houses, streets, and their minds. In the United States, this festival is celebrated during weekends with group of friends and families. For many, it is more of a cultural tradition rather than a religious observance.
Why is Diwali celebrated?
Diwali is celebrated by different cultures and regions in the Indian subcontinent for different reasons. While North Indians celebrate the return of Lord Rama and his wife Sita to their kingdom Ayodhya after 14 years of exile, South Indians rejoice in the victory of Lord Krishna and his wife Satyabhama over the evil demon Narakasura. In both cases, lamps are lit to signify the victory of good over evil.
The illumination of homes with lights and the sky with firecrackers is an expression of obeisance to the heavens for the attainment of health, wealth, knowledge, peace, and prosperity. The sound of firecrackers is an indication of the joy of the people living on earth, making the gods aware of their plentiful state. In ancient India, Diwali was celebrated by farmers as a harvest festival as they harvest some of their crops during that time. Farmers lit diyas to kill insects that destroy crops.
How is Diwali celebrated?
People celebrate this festival by cleaning their homes, decorating them with diyas (lamps) and rangoli (traditional India art), and worship goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, to bring them prosperity. For businesses, it is a special day as it is the start of New Year for them. The finest clothes are worn on the day, sweets made and distributed, and gifts exchanged. Once the sun goes down, diyas, and fireworks are lit and families feast.