Members of Southwest Florida’s Hindu community lit up the night Saturday in Lehigh Acres with a Diwali celebration.
More than 100 people, many with roots in the West Indies and South America, where Hinduism is widespread, danced, sang, enjoyed a fashion show and traditional vegetarian dishes accented with garbanzos and black beans.
The Hindu church group that sponsored the celebration numbers about 30 people from Lehigh, Cape Coral, Fort Myers and LaBelle. Another group of Hindus opened a temple on Plantation Road in south Fort Myers last summer. The groups are not connected except by practicing Hinduism. There are an estimated 1,000 families of Hindus in Lee, Collier and Charlotte counties.
“Diwali is a festival of light celebrated by Hindus all over the world. According to Hindu scripture it signifies the triumph of good over evil, joy over sorrow, wealth over poverty and the pathway to liberation,” said Dharamdath (Sam) Hanoman, a Hindu priest in Fort Myers.