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November 09, 2015

Lights strungeverywhere.For days on end, the warmth of laughter and light fills homes. Small clay lamps lit with candles line windows and home fronts, symbolizing the protection of inner light against spiritual darkness. Meals, sweets and hospitality and joy are around every corner.

It’s time for Diwali -- the annual Festival of Lights.

Mel Murray dancing at a Diwali Celebration. Another Diwali celebration.

Diwali is one of India’s most important holidays -- and a favorite around the JOYN office. Each of the five days of Diwali is marked by a significant act or tradition. For example day one includes cleaning homes and shopping for gold and kitchen utensils. On day two, people decorate their homes with clay lamps -- ordiyas --and create design patterns on the floor with colored powders and sand. Days three, four and five are comprised of various celebrations, gatherings with loved ones and gift-giving.

“The entire holiday is focused around truth and light and celebration,” says JOYN founder Mel Murray. “I see Diwali as one of the most redeeming holidays in India.”

She sees Diwali as a time where everyone takes each other a little more seriously, remembering what’s important. “We spend lots of time in each other's homes, sharing meals, laughing -- and having lots of dance parties. It’s such an amazing time every year.”

Diwali starts on November 9th, and the celebrations have already begun -- including colorful lights strung haphazardly around town, fireworks shot off at all hours of the night, sometimes from the roof of your own house...

Some might call it chaotic. We call it the happiest time of the year.

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