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Sikhs, Hindus celebrate Diwali in Yuba-Sutter
They celebrate for different reasons, but in Yuba City — as in India — adherents to the Sikh and Hindu religions come together for the festival of lights.
Several hours prior to the Diwali festival at Sri Narayan Hindu Temple on Tuesday evening, stores on Palora Avenue buzzed with customers shopping for holiday items.
"People buy a whole new outfit just for today," said Amindeep Baraich, 26, who purchased 10 small terra cotta vessels to use as candles at her home, and at her place of worship, the Sri Guru Nanak Sikh Temple on Bogue Road.
Diwali — pronounced Dih-vah-lee — is the most widely celebrated of Indian holidays. In the Hindu faith, it marks the emergence of the Lord Rama from 14 years of exile.
Sikhs celebrate the release of their sixth Guru, and 52 other princes, from imprisonment by the Muslim Emperor Jahengir, who ruled India in the early 17th century.
Isha Pabla, 31, of Yuba City, said she remembers being frightened of the fireworks during Diwali when she was a child in India. Fireworks are an important part of the celebration there.
"Our parents used to get us new clothes, and we went to both the Hindu temple and the Gurdwara," she said.
Symbolically, in both traditions, the candle light of Diwali represents the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance.
At LA Merchandise in Yuba City, store owner Bakhsho Visla spent the hours prior to the festival running between the cash register and the shelves along the back wall, where boxes of Diwali candle ingredients — terra cotta bowls, mustard oil and cotton wicks — had to be constantly replenished for customers.
"People buy 25 or 35 all day," she said. "And everybody buys sweets."
She also had ordered extra boxes of jalebi, a bright orange dessert popular in Northern India.
In India, Sri Lanka, Fiji, and cities in the US with large Hindu populations, gift-giving is a big part of the holiday tradition.
"But here, it's mostly an exchange of sweets," said Baraich.
"People just keep it simple here," said Pabla.
CONTACT Nancy Pasternack at npasternack@appealdemocrat. com or 749-4781. Find her on Facebook at /ADnpasternack or on Twitter at @ADnpasternack.