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Columbus to host first-ever Diwali celebration Wednesday

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The Hindu faith is celebrated during the month of October in the United States, and the city of Columbus is doing its part to recognize the country’s third largest religion with its first-ever Diwali celebration on Wednesday.

At a recent Columbus City Council meeting, members opened the floor to Reynoldsburg City Councilman Bhuwan Pyakurel.

Pyakurel said the city’s Hindu community is grateful for the recognition and for the second chances they’ve found in Central Ohio.

“This is very, very important for all of us. So important for me, and the Bhutanese community because in the year 1990, we were forced out of our country of birth by the dictator, the King of Bhutan, one of the really one of the main reason was our faith, the Hindu Dharma," he said.

To further welcome and respect the religion, Columbus' council chambers will be transformed Wednesday evening to officially celebrate Diwali for the first time.

“This is the place where we gather as a community. And we want folks to feel comfortable in this space, regardless of where you come from. If you were born here or not, if you are a resident of this city, then this is your space,” said Columbus City Council President Shannon Hardin.

Pyakurel said the gesture means a lot to him and other members of the community.

“On the behalf of Hindu Americans, and the Bhutanese Hindu community. I like to thank for recognizing this day. And also, we are ever grateful for all of you and for this nation for giving us a second chance and recognize this recognizing this very important day," he said.

Columbus City Councilman Emmanuel Remy said the Hindu community has a lot to contribute to society.

"Hindu Americans have made numerous positive contributions in all aspects of society from science and business, to politics and spirituality," Remy said. "Columbus's vibrant Hindu American community has contributed tremendously to the vitality of the success of the city and enriched the lives of its residents. Hindus strive to live by Dharma, which is a code of living morality and acceptance of all and living in harmony with nature."

Renee Fox is a reporter for 89.7 NPR News.