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Diwali celebrations becoming more prevalent in Bay Area

Chef holds Diwali celebration at his Peninsula Indian restaurant by KPIX | CBS NEWS BAY AREA on YouTube

The tradition of celebrating Diwali, the Festival of Lights, keeps growing in the U.S. and creating a season of events including around the Bay Area. 

South Asian families who previously observed the holiday at home have had more opportunities in recent years to come together in local communities.

"I generally look into what is not happening now. Which used to be an integral part of the celebration," said Manish Tyagi, chef at Aurum, an Indian restaurant on the Peninsula.

Tyagi creates a special menu at the restaurant for Diwali. It helps to embrace his approach to celebrating the holiday by bridging the oldest traditions of his culture with modern cuisine. He grew up in India but has called the Bay Area home for years now, creating new memories for Diwali with his family and at Aurum.

"How I can make a balance between both, you know, the old and the new," he told KPIX.

Oil lamps are lit each year for Diwali, symbolizing light triumphing over darkness. The festival lasts five days and is observed by multiple religions. The third day is considered the main day of celebration. In Fremont, people came together with hundreds of lamps on Sunday.

Weeks earlier, thousands gathered in Pleasanton for one of the largest events in the Bay Area celebrating Diwali. Fireworks, dancing, and the Hindu tradition of burning an effigy to celebrate good winning over evil all happened that night. Cupertino also had its own celebration outdoors weeks ahead of the actual holiday. It is one of the oldest in the region, marking 20 years of gathering together as a community.

"Introducing people to our culture, making them aware what we are doing, why we are doing, and is the significance of that," Tyagi said about what it means to him to share the holiday with others.  

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