Billions of Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, and some Buddhists worldwide celebrate Diwali, also known as the "festival of lights."
CARY, N.C. (WTVD) — Celebrations for Diwali are taking place across the Triangle. It is a global holiday that originates from India.
It starts with traditional clothing. Men, women and children dress for the occasion. Sneha Patel shows off her traditional wear.
"This is traditional saree. It comes in many colors and levels depending on the occasion. Because Diwali is such a big occasion, people pick out fancier clothes and jewelry. It's one of the few times a year we get to dress up in all of our fineness," she said.
Inside this temple, also called a mandir, hundreds gathered for the Hindu New Year. Celebrations include eating, praying and worshipping toward images of God.
"We celebrate good over evil, knowledge over ignorance and light over darkness. That message hits home when we're all together," said Viren Shah.
Governor Cooper signed a historic proclamation recognizing October as Hindu Heritage Month.
"its historic in the sense for us. It's the first time it has ever happened. We're blessed with that," said Viren Patel.
There's a fast growing South Asian presence in the Triangle specifically in Cary and Morrisville. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, data shows they make up almost 20% of the population in Cary and 39% in Morrisville.
In Cary, there was a significant unveiling and dedication. A 87 feet high tower known as the SV Temple of North Carolina is the tallest of its kind in North America and called the tower of unity and prosperity.
"What it symbolizes is a form of culture that represents a large minority in the triangle. It gives them the confidence of living in unity with the rest of them," said Lak Sri.
Shoes are not allowed because this is considered sacred ground as part of Hindu culture. Celebrations for Diwali started Saturday and end Thursday surrounded by family and friends.
Cary family out thousands after rental not what they expected
Charlotte woman who inspired many dies after battle with brain cancer
'Amazing' Wiggins to be grand marshal of Raleigh Christmas Parade