Carmel council votes to allow fireworks to celebrate Diwali


The Carmel City Council unanimously voted March 21 to allow consumer fireworks to be used to celebrate Diwali, a holiday traditionally observed by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and some Buddhists. 

Diwali, known as the festival of lights, is celebrated in October or November, with the date set by the Hindu lunar calendar. This year, Diwali will take place on Oct. 24, although the observance lasts for several days. 

Pooja Garg, a Carmel resident who is Hindu, said Diwali is the most important holiday of the year in her faith and that fireworks celebrate the triumph of good over evil. She was pleased to see the council’s decision. 

“I have seen the scrutiny (Carmel Hindu residents) have gone through to do the fireworks,” Garg said. “We have been looked at as (if) we’re doing a crime, but fireworks are a huge part of our holiday. We’re only trying to spread the love.”  

Because the date of the Diwali celebration changes, the city council will annually set the date or dates to allow fireworks for Diwali. The council takes a similar approach to setting dates for suspension of the short-term rental ordinance to coincide with major events and holidays. 

“I think this is really important for our community and gives some certainty to the rest of our community on what day it would be held,” said City Councilor Sue Finkam, one of six councilors to sponsor the ordinance. 

The council voted to suspend its rules and vote on the matter on its first reading. 

The only other dates fireworks are permitted in the city are from June 29 to July 9 to celebrate Independence Day and on New Year’s Eve. 

Garg, who helped organize the inaugural Diwali celebration at Clay Terrace in 2021, said it is important for Carmel residents of different cultures to learn from — and about — each other. 

“We have to start caring about this world as a whole,” Garg said.