The Heritage India Festival: Celebrating Diwali in the U.S.

Remitly is proud to sponsor this year’s Heritage India Festival, the greater Washington, D.C. area’s premier South Asian cultural festival, held twice a year. Their Diwali festival is an ideal place for the whole family to kick off the holiday season with shopping, live entertainment, and delicious cuisine from the South Asian subcontinent.

With many events going virtual in 2020 due to the pandemic, organizers of the 2021 Heritage India Festival are excited to be back. They expect up to 300 booths selling special food, accessories, home decor, artwork, and more.

Remitly is working closely with our community partners to sponsor this year’s festivities.

celebrate diwali away from home with decorations like this light

About The Heritage India Festival

For 21 years, Rushhi Entertainment’s award-winning Heritage India Festival series has featured the best of South Asia–highlighting Indian culture, cuisine, commerce, and entertainment. The festival draws thousands of South Asian-Americans to experience and revel in their traditions.

For more information, check out their website or Facebook page.

The History of Diwali

The word Diwali originates from the Sanskrit word Deepavali, meaning “row of lights.” While rooted in Hinduism, Diwali is celebrated across many cultures and religions in India.

The festival most likely began as a harvest celebration. For most Hindus, especially in northern and central India, Diwali marks the return home of deities Rama, Sita, Lakshmana, and Hanuman to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile. On this holiday, people across India light oil lamps and candles to help guide Rama and his wife Sita home.

In southern India, Diwali popularly celebrates a story of the Hindu god Krishna—a different incarnation of Vishnu—in which Krishna frees 16,000 women from an evil king.

In the western state of Gujarat, one of India’s multiple New Year celebrations coincides with Diwali. Their Diwali celebration associates with the goddess of prosperity, wealth, good luck, and happiness, Lakshmi. During the celebration, people often exchange gifts and coins.

And in eastern India, Hindus often associate the Diwali festival with the goddess Durga, and her victory of good over evil.

A strong common thread shines through each Diwali celebration: the triumph of light over darkness, and good over evil.

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The Heritage India Festival