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Houston Hindus adapt to celebrate Diwali, a festival of light and hope, during a year that needs it most

Arya Samaj Greater Houston is hosting a drive-thru Diwali on Friday, November 13 to allow people to celebrate in a COVID-19-safe way.

HOUSTON — Houston's Hindu community is finding ways to celebrate the religion's most important holiday in a COVID-19-safe way.

Traditionally, thousands of people gather to celebrate the Hindu holiday of Diwali, which recognizes the triumph of light over dark; truth over ignorance; and good over evil.

Diwali comes from the Hindu word Deepavali, which means "rows of lamps." Those celebrating will often light a lamp outside their homes to symbolize the inner light that protects them from spiritual darkness.

In the past, Constellation Field, home of the Sugar Land Skeeters, has hosted a Diwali festival that brought tens of thousands of people together. This year, they will be having a virtual celebration.

Arya Samaj Greater Houston, one of the several Hindu communities in Harris County, is hosting a drive-thru Diwali celebration on Friday, Nov. 13, at 6 p.m.

"It is very important because people have had hard times," said Sanjay Jain, coordinator of Communication and Special Programs for ASGH. “COVID’s not going to stop us from our celebration.”

The night includes a contactless celebration of lights, music, food, and blessings.

Jain said it was important to their elders to celebrate and encourage people to feel some joy and be grateful.

“Even if you are suffering, you need a little bit of a break, and that break should be joyful," said Acharya Surya Nanda, one of the priests who will perform during Friday's celebration at ASGH. “Even in dark, small lamps can light your life.”

“We are lighting up everybody’s heart through this small effort," said Jain.