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updated: 10/27/2011 12:08 PM

Suburban Hindus mark Diwali with celebrations

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  • BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Bartlett.

       BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Bartlett.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • Video: President Obama notes Diwali

 
 

Many suburban Hindus marked the religious festival of Diwali -- commonly known as the festival of lights -- Wednesday and celebrations continue today at many area temples.

Diwali -- Deepavali in Sanskrit -- is one of the most important Hindu festivals of the year. Typically, it is observed by ritual prayer in homes and temples, family gatherings, consuming mounds of sweets, wearing new clothes, giftgiving, lighting of clay oil lamps or candles, and fireworks.

The festival signifies the triumph of good over evil, symbolized by the lighting of oil lamps to rid the darkness and firecrackers to drive away evil spirits.

Diwali this year also coincides with new year celebrations for North Indian Hindus.

Thursday's festivities begin at 7 a.m. at the BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir in Bartlett, one of the major Hindu temples in the region. The day starts with a new year prayer, followed by abhishek or bathing of the gods with milk and water.

An opening ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. with ritual prayers throughout the day until 8 p.m. The public is invited to attend. The temple is at 4N739 Rte. 59.

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