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12 Reasons Why Diwali’s Torch Flickers in the US While Lunar New Year’s Firework Displays Dazzle

Not all festivals enjoy popularity in America. A user asked the forum, “Why isn’t Diwali popular in the United States compared to Lunar New Year?” Here are the top responses. 

LUNAR NEW YEAR HAS BEEN A PART OF POPULAR CULTURE 

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“Because the Lunar New Year has been a part of popular culture for many more decades than Diwali. 

I remember reading stories about families celebrating the Lunar New Year in elementary school when they used to make us all read aloud in class. The kids in the reports will always be getting their red envelopes filled with money, and I remember thinking, how is that any different from Diwali except for maybe the color of the envelope?

Kids are starting to do that with Diwali stories. Give it time.”

EAST ASIANS HAVE BEEN IN UNITED STATES FOR LONGER THAN SOUTH INDIANS

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“Because many East Asians have been in the United States for longer than South Asians and their traditions have had more time to become well known by the general public. 

Ethnic enclaves like Chinatowns have held Lunar New Year events for decades and have had time to permeate into the prevailing culture, especially in dense cities like New York and San Francisco. 

Enclaves like these generally don’t exist for South Asian populations, especially not with the same density as East Asian populations.

If you want it to become famous, consider organizing a public Diwali festival in your city in the area of a South Asian enclave. Invite reporters and media personalities. Get a permit for a parade or a street festival. 

Make partnerships with South Asian-owned businesses to provide funding for the event. Advertise the event and get non-South Asians to come. Then it will become famous like you want it to be.”

CHINESE HAVE A FAR LONGER HISTORY IN THE UNITED STATES

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“Because the Chinese have a far longer history in the United States and the United States have fought multiple wars in that part of the world.”

THE MARKET IS SMALL

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“I saw someone mention something like this, but basically, the examples you listed are all video games, which, as an industry, panders to the Chinese market. They make a totally different version of the game sometimes and do extra events, promotions, etc, to get more people in China to buy their games. 

I’m not sure what video game marketing/revenues are like from India, but I’m guessing as a market, it’s smaller.”

CHINA IS RICHER THAN INDIA 

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“China is far richer than India, and Chinese consumers have far more disposable income.”

DIWALI IS A RELIGIOUS FESTIVAL 

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“Well, the biggest difference is that while Chinese New Year is a cultural festival, Diwali is a religious one. Not all Indians celebrate it, as opposed to all Chinese, and other nationalities with Chinese influence and traditions celebrate Chinese New Year.”

TRADITIONAL WESTERN HOLIDAYS ARE ONLY CELEBRATED 

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“Any holiday that isn’t a traditional Western holiday is considered unpopular here. Immigrant/diaspora communities mostly celebrate the smaller holidays.”

COULD BE A REGIONAL THING 

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“Where in the United States are you? It could be a regional thing. Where I live out in the west, it’s celebrated by stores, malls, schools, etc.”

DIWALI HASN’T BEEN CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE 

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“Because Diwali hasn’t been culturally appropriated by white people yet.”

IT’S A MORE NICHE EXPERIENCE

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“Diwali is a religious holiday. Lunar New Year isn’t and is celebrated by a whole population regardless of religion. 

Diwali, while it is celebrated overall in India by many people, still has its roots and meaning in Hinduism. People still go to pooja and do many sacred activities related to the holiday. So, of course, it’s a more niche experience.”

MARKET APPEAL 

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“There has to be a market appeal. You can’t make a buck out of Diwali. On the other hand, Holi, especially in areas that have legalized pot (e.g., selling bung), anything that involves drinking, drugs, and eating is going to do well.”

PEOPLE HAVE BEEN PRESSURED TO HIDE THEIR CULTURE

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“It’s simply not known. Most of the time, people have been pressured to hide their culture; only now, Generation Z and Millennials are embracing their culture, and there is increasing awareness. That can change. 

I picked up a calendar that listed Diwali (not an Indian calendar), so that’s something. I post Diwali pictures on Instagram, so people have found out through me (including my South Asian friends from different religions and didn’t know).

It’s up to us to make it popular. If we could corroborate the concepts, that would help as well.”

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This article was originally published on Mrs. Daaku Studio.