Diwali festivals grow in US, from Disney to Times Square

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NEW YORK – The holiday of Diwali is starting to light up mainstream America.

Diwali, a festival of lights celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and others in India and other countries, has long been observed in immigrant communities around the U.S. But now public celebrations are starting to pop up in places ranging from Disneyland and New York's Times Square to parks and museums.

The Times Square event is the brainchild of Neeta Bhasin, who came to the U.S. from India 40 years ago and is president of ASB Communications. The Times Square event is scheduled for Oct. 7, with dance performances, Bollywood singers, a bazaar of food, saris and other goods, and a lighting ceremony.

Other celebrations will take place around the country, from Disneyland to San Antonio, Texas, to New York's Rubin Museum, which plans a 24-hour festival of Indian music.

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