Honoring Choices Minnesota joined the Hindu Temple of Minnesota at the annual celebration of Diwali, the Festival of Lights, on October 18 at the Minneapolis Convention Center.  More than 2,100 participants of all ages attended this year’s event which included a large representation from the Twin Cities’ Indian community. India’s cultural and culinary gifts were showcased and included a huge traditional dinner, music, dance and other performances.

Diwali is an ancient Hindu festival celebrated in autumn each year.  It spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, and hope over despair.  Diwali also honors the return of lord Rama and his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana from exile, as told in the ancient Hindu epic, the Ramayana.SEWA’s Raj Chaudery, Priyanka Shetty and Shobha Mucherla introduce advance care planning to Diwali participants.In a partnership with SEWA-AIFW (Asian Indian Family Wellness), SEWA community volunteers and Barbara Greene, Honoring Choices Minnesota’s Director of Community Engagement, spoke with participants at a shared exhibit table about why advance care planning is so important to the Indian community. 

“Being present at this event is part of the normalizing process,” explained Ms. Greene.  “We’re intentional in discussing this important family priority in many settings.  We explained to individuals of all ages that their physicians and health systems will be having this conversation with all persons over age 18.  Our presence at Diwali was to prepare individuals for this conversation, pass out new HCM stickers to family members and children, and greet participants.  Many individuals had already heard of our campaign.  It was clear that we’re successfully getting the word out to a broad segment of Minnesota residents!”

Enjoying a special Indian dinner is a highlight of the shared Diwali celebration.This is the second year that Diwali has taken place at the Minneapolis Convention Center – a testimony to the growing popularity of this festival in bringing together Hindus and others to enjoy shared food, music, and dance.  To learn more about SEWA-AIFW, visit their website.

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