As I have gradually increased my community involvement over the past year, the story of Bandi Chhor Divas is a reminder to look beyond oneself, and to use the privilege that has been conferred by the Creator to aid those who are less fortunate.
As a convert to Hinduism, I often struggle to find meaning in our festivals and holidays. They're fun, but what are we really celebrating? Sometimes it's hard to find the meaning of the holiday amid all the cheer.
Diwali for me has always been something empowering: a time to reflect on all of the positives within our lives -- our loving friends and family, our good health, and prosperity -- and realize what it is truly important.
I have a newfound meaning for Diwali. There is more to the festival of lights than lighting lamps, wearing fancy clothing and feasting. The real lesson of Diwali is to move beyond these material aspects in order to recognize the value light holds in our lives.
For Muslims, Diwali can be a time to reflect on complex spiritual and theological questions. The common symbolism of light is an excellent platform for interfaith dialogue and deep philosophical discussion.