How Hindus In Wyoming Are Celebrating Diwali, the ‘Festival Of Lights,’ Amid Pandemic

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Diwali is known as the «festival of lights.» But really, it’s more than that. It is a new year for Hindus across the globe. It symbolizes the victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance.

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The traditional Indian clothing of Sarita Talusani Keller’s daughter, 9-year-old Leela, is laid out in her bedroom. Every Diwali, she would wear one of these outfits to celebrate the festival.

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Sarita Talusani Keller’s son, Jackson, is seen celebrating their annual Diwali potluck in October, 2019.

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Leela Keller paints a Diya lamp at home preparing for Diwali decorations, in 2016. Right, Leela stands in front of the statue of Hindu goddess Lakshmi, in Sri Meenakshi Temple, located in Madurai, in the state of Tamil Nadu, India.

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Painted Diyas by Sarita Talusani Keller and her daughter, Leela, laid out on the kitchen counter, ready to be lit for Diwali night in 2017.

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Painted Diyas by Sarita Talusani Keller and her daughter, Leela, laid out on the kitchen counter, ready to be lit for Diwali night in 2017.

Sarita Keller

Both Keller and Mohan are, of course, disappointed. But Mohan is going to make the most of it.

As for Keller and her nine-year-old daughter, Leela, they’re looking forward to one way Diwali is different this year: having Kamala Harris, who like her has Indian heritage, as vice president-elect.

«We’re like, ‘Look, it’s someone like us! And it’s a woman!» said Keller. «There’s never been a woman in like, the presidential history, ever,» Leela replies. «And a woman of color, and a woman that has a familiar background … She’s also south Indian.»

Just like Diwali, Harris’ election is seen as a new beginning and a fresh start. This has been evident from the victory celebrations in Harris’ ancestral village in India, the Indian Prime Minister congratulating Harris publicly and social media memes commemorating her election.

Under a worldwide pandemic and the first woman to be vice president-elect of the United States, 2020 has truly been a year of a lot of firsts, just like the spirit of Diwali.

  • Hindu festival
  • Diwali
  • Hinduism
  • Wyoming

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