JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Wednesday marks the last day of Diwali, the festival of lights that celebrates the triumph of good over evil.
A celebration was held in Jacksonville for the start of the Hindu New Year.
“Everyone comes out, they meet each other, greet each other, and they enjoy some of the food that’s been offered to God,” said Shivani Kanji, who volunteered.
The celebration, as she noted, included what’s called “Annakut.” Its literal meaning: A mountain of food.
Every year, food is offered as gratitude for the past year and blessings for the year ahead.
This celebration of Annakut took place at the Merrill Road temple, with a chance to get together and reflect.
“Thinking about things that you’ve done right, things that you’ve done wrong and making that a time to connect with each other and family as well,” Kanji said.
Indian delicacies like one that Nehu Patel created are all part of the recipe for joy.
“The whole idea of Diwali is to get together as a family, friends and community, and celebrate peace and happiness, and get to know each other for a whole new year of happiness,” Patel said.
We spoke with Dilan Patel, a University of Central Florida student, who came home from school to take part in the celebration.
“This is the one week or five days when I can actually talk to my parents, interact with them, as much as I want and, you know, build that bond that you kind of lose in a way when you’re at college,” he said.
During Diwali, the idea is to use introspection to also improve one’s self and build a deeper connection with community and God.