Diwali Celebrated

October 21, 2000

Source: Los Angeles Times

On October 21, 2000, the Los Angeles Times reported that "thousands of Hindus across Southern California will gather at Cerritos Regional County Park to celebrate Diwali, the annual Indian holy day known as the Festival of Lights. The name Diwali comes from the Sanskrit word Deepawali, which means "rows of diyas" or earthen clay lamps. The day symbolizes the triumph of good over evil. Although there are countless Indian legends behind Diwali, the most widely known is the story of Lord Rama and his defeat of the demon king Ravana. After 14 years in exile, Lord Rama returned to the kingdom of Ayodha, where people celebrated his return by lighting thousands of diyas throughout the countryside. Similar to the way Christians celebrate Christmas, Hindus celebrate by buying new clothes, giving gifts and decorating their homes and businesses with strings of colored lights. At Cerritos Park, a 60-foot effigy with 10 heads will be erected, with each head representing one of society's evils, such as greed, corruption, rape and war. A horse-drawn chariot with Lord Rama will set fire to the effigy, symbolically destroying evil. Fireworks will follow."