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CLARKS SUMMIT - Maitri and Pari Pancholy will demonstrate the process of making Rangoli (sand art) at The Abington Community Library host a Diwali Celebration Dec. 8. The sisters have been making sand art since kindergarten. Maitri Pancholy enjoys making peacocks, while Pari prefers flower designs. The cost for guests to make a design will be $1.

The event, from 4 to 6 p.m., will feature ethnic refreshments including a variety of breads, entrees, and desserts from all over India. Different types of music, including vocal music, classical dance, classical and current Bollywood tunes will highlight the day. The cost for adults will be $5. Refreshments will be free for children.

According to Dr. Dipti Pancholy, event organizer, Rangoli has a story to tell. In history, once it was known that a king was defeated, everyone celebrated by decorating their home using special symbols through elaborate sand art.

The library is like a temple of learning, she said. We thought it would be a good place to do the event.

Maitri Pancholy thinks the program will be educational for guests looking to broaden their horizons.

It's a really good way to show other people about Indian culture, she said. It's becoming more popular in America and this celebration will help people learn a little more about the traditions.

Nikitha, a ninth-grade student, will organize henna demonstrations. According to Nikitha, the most popular designs are peacocks, mangos and a variety of floral designs. Peacocks are the national bird of India and mango is the national fruit. The cost for guests to get a henna designed on them will be $2 for children under 10; $4 for all other ages.

According to Dipti Pancholy, Diwali is a five-day festival in which different prayers are offered each day. One day is specially set aside for forgiveness and throwing out demons and negativity, one day for prayer for wealth and good health to come into the home. Another day, the prayer is for wealth to come into business. Another day is set aside for feasting.

The final day dedicated to brothers and sisters.

Wherever the brother may be, he would try to get to his sisters home to get together and exchange presents, Dipti Pancholy said.

According to Maitri Pancholy, one of the traditions is cleaning the house to help the gods feel welcome.

Another tradition of Diwali is that friends and family exchange presents.

Most Indians celebrate Diwali as the day of homecoming for King Rama, according to Dipti Pancholy. Rama and his queen, Sita, were placed in exile by his stepmother as part of a promise made by the king. The king promised the queen that he would give her any one wish because she had saved his life. Her wish was that for 14 years, her son, who was younger, would rule. During the exile, the queen was abducted by the king of another far away kingdom, called Lanka. Through the help of a southern kingdom, Rama was able to retrieve his queen. Because it was the darkest night, they couldn't find their way back to the kingdom and the citizens were concerned that he would get lost and not find their way home. Citizens lit oil lamps throughout the night so that the couple could find their way home.

That is the reason why we still light lamps, Dipti Pancholy said.

During the event's Story Time, Maitri and Pari Pancholy will explain the story and traditions of Diwali.

The setting off of firecrackers, another Diwali tradition, will take place outside the library at the end of the program.

Guests are asked to register by Dec. 6 by either stopping at the library or calling 587.3440.

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