Understanding the Story and Meaning of DIWALI
By John Hogan Director of Education & Cultural Diversity, Best Western | October 28, 2008
2005 will likely be remembered as a year of questions and wondering. People ask questions and globally wonder about the power of nature, as various parts of the planet experienced records in tsunami damage and fire in the Eastern World. Floods and wind destruction resulting from the highest number of hurricanes ever reported in the Western World dominated the news for months.
Continuing acts of terrorism around the globe, coupled with the threat of additional wars on several continents, all contributed to a world that is troubled and torn apart by a lack of understanding and trust.
Mukesh Mowji, 2005 vice chairman of the Asian American Hotel Owners Association, authored a short editorial in the November issue of the AAHOA Lodging Business magazine titled "Illuminating the Way: DIWALI and the Community". (1) In this article, he encouraged people of all nationalities to join in this "Festival of Lights" which begins on November 1st and to give thanks for the health, good fortune, knowledge and happiness that so many people have.
In researching this article, I found that despite the facts that India has the 2nd largest population in the world and Indians have made major contributions in many industries, DIWALI is a holiday known to only a limited number of Westerners. With that in mind, I discovered the following:
What might an observer who knew nothing of this Eastern holiday think if asked to compare certain Western holidays? A 2004 online article (2) did just that in the following observations:
A few weeks after these Eastern holidays, the Christian community marks Christmas and people from a number of other faiths observe their annual feasts.