Shubh Diwali!

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Today marks the holiest of days during the 5-day long Deepavali Festival for Hindu, Sikh and Jain families around the world. Deepavali (frequently shortened to “Diwali”) translates to “row of lamps.” At its essence, the celebration of Diwali involves the lighting of small clay lamps to signify the triumph of light over dark, good over evil, and to rejoice in the inner light.

Diwali originated in India, but is now also celebrated among Indian populations in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, Malaysia, Singapore, and Fiji. Countries such as Canada and the United Kingdom, with large Hindu and Sikh populations, also offer many venues for celebrating the Festival of Light. For Hindus, Diwali is one of the most important festivals of the year and is celebrated in families by performing traditional activities (like festive fireworks, worship, lights, music and dance, and sharing of sweets and gifts) together in their homes.

I remember witnessing Diwali festivities from afar when I was trekking in Nepal one autumn. We had trekked for several days through the mountainous Annapurna region, and were spending the night in a tiny village in an even tinier teahouse. As darkness fell, the stars above began to appear, along with an ever-increasing number of twinkling lights from across the valley. In the daytime, the grand scope of the mountains had concealed the unassuming stone and mud buildings that make up Sherpa villages, but at night the Diwali lights showed us how many communities existed among the folds and ridges of these ancient mountain trails. It was a beautiful reminder to tread lightly and with respect through another’s backyard.

Happy Diwali to all our guides and travelers who are celebrating the festival of light with their families and loved ones!
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