Youngstown celebrates annual Hindu festival of lights

Prinshep Yadav prepares for Diwali.

By Emily McCarthy

Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, is being celebrated in Youngstown this week. The festival

 takes place Nov. 4 as an annual tradition where families and friends get together to celebrate the holiday representing victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance. 

Phantom Fireworks is one of the businesses selling merchandise in support of the holiday.

Amelia Hoffman, advertising manager of Phantom Fireworks, said the company does a lot for celebrators of Diwali. This year, it’s selling a few different fountain fireworks specifically for the holiday, including an oil lamp fountain, a flower pot fountain and a spirit in the night fountain.

“We actually do quite a bit for Diwali … we love promoting the holiday and have sales on the items that are most popularly used to celebrate,” Hoffman said. “Most Phantom locations are open year-round and sell fireworks for all holidays. If you go into any location, we also have special signage and in-store sales that highlight fountains and sparklers that are most popularly used to celebrate the holiday.”

Prinshep Yadav, a senior mathematics and actuarial science major, has been a part of the Nepalese Student Association since his freshman year. He said they have been holding events for Diwali since 2018, which he is happy to be a part of.

“In America, we get together at Christmas time, or maybe Thanksgiving time, and for us and many Asian countries, this is the only time where we can meet our family, friends and relatives, so we gather together and enjoy the festival,” he said. “Since we are far from our country, we wanted to celebrate over here, as well, and being a transfer student and because of COVID and everything these days, we are not allowed to go back to the country and going back this time would be like leaving our class.”

Yadav said going back to their home countries could take three or four days, so they organize a meet every year on a Sunday sometime during October or November.

“The main goal of the festival is to get together, and not only for international students … but all the international students and domestic students,” he said. “We invite students from Youngstown State University, the University of Akron, Cleveland State and all the other universities as well.”

This year, the event will take place from 5-9 p.m. Nov. 14 at Stambaugh Stadium. Registration is available online and is free for YSU faculty and students. To purchase tickets, visit eventbrite.com

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