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Celebrate Diwali/Tihar in 2021

Diwali/Tihar 2021

November 3, 2021

Celebrate Diwali/Tihar with thousands of Asian Indians, Nepali and Bhutanese Americans this year!

A large population of Asian Indian Americans, Nepali Americans and Bhutanese Americans are celebrating their biggest festival Diwali this November with slight variations on Thursday, Nov. 4 and Saturday, Nov. 6.

Asian Indians celebrate this festival as Diwali; Nepalese Americans and Bhutanese Americans celebrate it as Deepawali and/or Tihar.

About Diwali/Tihar

The festival usually lasts five days and is most commonly known as the festival of lights. The festival celebrates spiritual "victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance."

The five days of festivities include cleaning homes and making decorations on the floor, lighting up the house with lamps to invite goddess Lakshmi and performing Laxmi pooja.

Nepalese people begin the celebration with praying to the crow. Crows and ravens, believed to be the messengers of the death god Yama, are worshipped with offerings of grains, seeds and sweets placed on the roofs or out on the streets.Celebrate Dog Loyalty

Celebrating Dogs

The second day is marked by kukur puja, a special day where dogs are worshipped and celebrated with treats, placing tika on their foreheads and garlands of marigold flowers around their necks. This day marks the special relationship between humans and dogs, where dogs are thanked and celebrated for their loyalty, service and companionship.

Sanjita Pradhan familyCelebrating Siblings

Nepalese people also celebrate ‘Bhai tika.’ On this final day, which is celebrated with much fanfare across the country, brothers and sisters mark their special bond by worshipping each other. Siblings all around the world get together to celebrate each other and festivities being with family and preparing cultural food on this day.

Pictured: Sanjita Pradhan celebrates Bhai Tika with her brother and family.

How You Can Celebrate Diwali/Tihar

Below are a few things you can do to acknowledge the holiday and make people celebrating this festival feel included.

  • To be inclusive, companies can add religious floating holidays to accommodate people who are celebrating different festivals.
  • Just wishing them Happy Diwali will make them feel welcomed and recognized.
  • Consider providing some flexibility in their work schedules.
  • Host a lunch-and-learn session to learn more about the holiday and increase your cultural competency.
    • There are also some untapped business opportunities during this time.
  • People celebrating this festival like to light up their house. Lighting businesses can extend their service to this community a little in advance.
  • People are buying and exchanging gifts. Sisters are sending gifts to their brothers even if they are not meeting in person. Gift sales and promotions, like the ones listed here from Konark Grocers Des Moines, can be targeted to this community in advance of other mainstream holidays.
  • It is considered auspicious to buy new things for the house, jewelry, etc. on the day of Laxmi pooja. Consider targeted marketing.
  • Grocery stores and other retail stores can increase sales by adding items these communities are looking buy during these celebrations.
  • Check out this targeted advertisement for Diwali by Costco
  • Check out how Best Buy celebrated and acknowledged Diwali

How are you acknowledging and celebrating Diwali this year? Write to us and share.

Greater Des Moines (DSM) welcomes diverse talent to the region. As one of the fastest growing business communities, inclusion and attracting diverse talent in the workplace is a key strategy of the Greater Des Moines Partnership. Learn more here.

Sanjita Pradhan

Sanjita Pradhan is the director of diversity and inclusion at the Greater Des Moines Partnership where she leads our internal and external DEI strategies to ensure DSM USA is welcoming and inclusive to all individuals.

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