Happy Diwali!

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Today marks the beginning of the five-day festival of Diwali, one of the most important festivals in the Hindu, Jain and Sikh faiths. It's often known as the Festival of Lights because lanterns figure prominently in celebrations.

The different religions have different stories attached to the festival. For Hindus, the festival marks the return of Lord Rama from 14 years of exile after slaying a demon. Jains commemorate the spiritual enlightenment of the sage who founded Jainism. And Sikhs celebrate the return of one of their gurus from freeing 52 imprisoned kings.

All the faiths light lamps, which symbolize the triumph of light over dark and good over evil. Celebrations throughout India will include fireworks and firecrackers. Sweets are exchanged as symbols of prosperity, and it's common to wear new clothes.

Here in St. Louis, there are celebration aplenty including several days of shows at Washington University with dance and fashion and the cultural group St. Louis Marathi Mandal is hosting a dinner and snack contest tomorrow night.

Shubh Diwali!

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