Diwali celebrates new beginnings at the new Krishna Temple in Millcreek
Nov 18, 2019 02:49PM
● By Hannah LaFond
The audience watches the performance of traditional music at the Salt Lake City Diwali festival. (Hannah LaFond/City Journals)
By Hannah LaFond | [email protected]
Diwali is always an important time of year in the Hindu faith, but this year was even more special for those of the Utah Krishna community. It was their first opportunity to celebrate the Festival of Lights in their newly built temple located at 965 East 3370 South in Millcreek.
This is the second Krishna temple constructed in Utah. The other is in Spanish Fork. Before opening the new temple on Aug. 17, members of the faith in the Salt Lake area worshiped in a small renovated classroom.
Now, they’re able to gather each Saturday at 7 p.m. in an ornate 7,000-square-foot temple topped with gold spires. Temple priest Caru Das Adikari said anyone who is curious is welcome to join them.
Diwali is the festival of lights celebrated between October and November. It has a great deal of significance for many reasons.
Adikari explained in the Hindu tradition it celebrates good’s triumph over evil or light’s triumph over darkness.
According to Hindu doctrine, Diwali celebrates when their deity Rama was welcomed back to Ayodhya after years of exile. The city was lit brightly to welcome him home, hence the festival of lights.
“Light represents goodness, represents knowledge, represents truth, represents integrity and then darkness represents the lack of all those things. So, the Festival of Light celebrates all those virtues,” Adikari said in an interview with the Millcreek Journal.
Along with these meanings, Diwali also celebrates the harvest and new beginnings. Adikari compared it to Thanksgiving and New Year’s celebrations.
“If you’re on an agricultural calendar the year actually starts now when you finish your harvest and everything is stored away for the winter,” Adikari said. The festival is at the end of October, making it a time of gratitude for the harvest and for new beginnings.
For the Salt Lake City Diwali celebration on Saturday, Oct. 26, members of the Krishna community and visitors gathered in the auditorium by the new Krishna temple. It was free to anyone who wanted to attend, and many who weren’t members of the faith joined the celebration. All guests were asked to leave their shoes outside the auditorium, which was decorated beautifully with many lights.
Guests sat in chairs facing the stage for a cultural program from 6 to 8 p.m. Performances included traditional music, a drama put on by the children, dance, and delicious food that was available for purchase.
The theme of light and goodness was prominent throughout the evening. At one point between musical performances, the priest asked the audience to look into their neighbor's eyes, telling them they would see the light in them.
“Light is truth, and that light doesn’t die,” he said. “Don’t worry, it’s not a religious thing,” he joked for anyone in attendance from other faiths.
When the cultural program had finished, everyone was invited to watch a fireworks display at the temple. The golden spires of the temple glowed with colorful light as fireworks soared above it, making the perfect end to the first of many Diwali celebrations at the Salt Lake City Krishna Temple.