Source: National Geographic
On October 28, 2005 National Geographic reported, "On Tuesday, fireworks and festive lights will brighten the moonless night as an estimated billion followers of the Hindu religion around the world celebrate Diwali, the festival of light.
Diwali may be news to many U.S. residents, but 'it is one of the most widely celebrated festivals in the world, being a national holiday in India, Fiji, [Nepal], and Trinidad,' G. Padmanabhan of the Hindu Temple Society of North America in Flushing, New York, said in an e-mail interview... Diwali is celebrated with 'extraordinary' festivity, Padmanabhan said. It has similarities to Christmas and new year festivities in other parts of the world... According to Meghani, most major U.S. cities have significant Hindu populations, and there are now an estimated 800 temples spread about the country. The biggest U.S. Hindu populations live in New York, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.
'You'll find active programs at temples around Diwali time and prior to that a whole bunch of festivals leading up to it. You'll also find some things you might consider more social, like the traditional dances of raas-garba,' he said, referring to Indian folk dancing."