Last night marked the most important night of Diwali, also known as Deepavali, a holiday with roots in India that is celebrated in much of South Asia, as well as in the United States.
One of the most important holidays for Hindus, Sikhs and others, it's known as the “Festival of Lights.” Families light candles and oil lamps called diyas to honor the legend of the Hindu god Rama, who returned after years of exile to his kingdom after slaying Ravana, a demon king. The holiday represents the triumph of light over darkness, or good over evil, and adherents give thanks for both their inner and outer wealth.
Yesterday, KPCC photographer Mae Ryan and I visited a couple of places where different facets of Diwali took shape. I visited busy Pioneer Boulevard in Artesia, where stores advertised Diwali sales and Indian American merchants, some in parking-lot kiosks set up just for the holiday, spent the afternoon selling painted diyas, multicolored sand to make intricate rangoli floor designs, greeting cards, silk flower garlands and other Diwali decorations to crowds of customers, all in a hurry to get home and celebrate with their families.