Today marks the first day of Diwali , a Hindu celebration (also celebrated by Sikhs and Jains) that marks the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness, and knowledge over ignorance. The word Diwali refers to lights placed around the home that represent the illumination present within everyone that can defeat ignorance, or darkness. For many Hindus, Diwali also marks the beginning of the new year.
While in most parts of the world Diwali is only celebrated today, in India Diwali lasts for five days, with each day having a different cause for celebration and reflection. Traditions for the other days include buying precious metals to invoke prosperity, buying clothes and sweets, making floor decorations, visiting friends and family, lighting firecrackers, expressing appreciation for nature, and showing affection between brothers and sisters.
Today at the Huffington Post, Vineet Chander reflects on Diwali  in a way that can speak to all of us, Catholics included. He says:
“Diwali reminds us that we abound in opportunities to choose light over darkness. As we observe the holiday this year, we can re-dedicate ourselves to living out our spiritual principles in all that we do. We can choose to see this one sacred day as the first in a year full of sacred days ahead, each one giving us a new chance to help and heal rather than to divide or destroy. We can choose to be instruments in the hands of the Divine, humble but bold carriers of light in a world that is so desperately in need of it.”
How can we choose light in our own lives, and where can we humbly and boldly carry it to places of darkness? Do we take advantage of opportunities to do so? Do we have cause to rededicate ourselves to our spiritual principles? Are we reflecting these principles in all we do? Where can we heal instead of divide? How can we help good and knowledge triumph over evil and ignorance?
While reflecting on these questions, I'll say (quoting Michael Scott from NBC’s The Office) have a happy, happy, happy, happy Diwali .