Diwali, the globally celebrated Hindu festival of lights, was honored in the City of Lights.

To recognize the November 4 holiday, Mayor Richard Irvin was joined by more than two dozen representatives of Indian American organizations at Aurora City Hall as he issued the official Diwali proclamation and honored the organizations for a significant service project.

"We recognize the historical and religious significance of Diwali and Diwali's message of tolerance, compassion, and the victory of good over evil, which resonates with the American and Aurora spirit," said Mayor Irvin.

The mayor presented Awards of Excellence to more than 40 Indian cultural organizations from Aurora to Chicago, collectively participating in the Sewa Diwali Food Drive that is currently collecting thousands of pounds of food for Aurora food pantries.

"Sewa" is the act of selfless service embedded in Indian culture. "Diwali" is a Hindu festival that celebrates the victory of light over darkness.

When combined, Sewa Diwali is an effort to ensure there is light in everybody's life, especially those most in need of food.

The efforts are led by the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh Aurora (HSS Aurora) organization to celebrate Diwali.

The Indian American community is Aurora's fastest growing population group.