WHEREAS, Diwali or Deepavali, is celebrated in autumn of each year by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, and others throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia and around the world; and

WHEREAS, Diwali is celebrated by lighting the Diya, or oil lamp, which symbolizes dispelling darkness and bringing light into life with traditional offerings, rituals, and festivals; and

WHEREAS, Diwali is a festival of lights that includes many traditions such as gathering with friends and family for community prayer, exchanging gifts, setting off fireworks, and decorating houses with colorful rangolis; and

WHEREAS, Diwali is also the Hindu New Year, and it is celebrated on the last day of the last month in the lunar calendar; and

WHEREAS, for Hindus, Diwali is celebration of good triumphing over evil, and that light will prevail over darkness; and  

WHEREAS, for Sikhs, Diwali is the day on which the sixth founding Sikh guru, Guru Hargobind, was released from confinement by the Mughal Emperor Jehangir; and

WHEREAS, for Jains, Diwali symbolizes Lord Mahavira attainment of Nirvana; and 

WHEREAS, for Buddhists, Diwali represents the day Emperor Ashoka chose the peaceful path of Buddhism over destruction and carnage; and 

WHEREAS, diversity represents one of our greatest strengths, and Virginia joins with all those around the world celebrating Diwali;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize October 23-27, 2019, as DIWALI in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our residents. Saal Mubarak.