NEW YORK (PIX11) — More than 200,000 people in the New York City area – and about 1 billion people around the world – celebrated Diwali on Monday.

The holiday, also known as the Festival of Lights, symbolizes the victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance. It’s a five-day festival that follows the lunar calendar and stretches back more than 2,500 years.

To celebrate, Culture Tree held a reading of the ancient tales of Diwali at the New York Public Library.

“I feel if kids at a young age see, they understand different cultures, different ways of life, they are more empathetic and more aware kids,” said Anu Sehgal, the founder of Culture Tree.

The holiday is celebrated with family over food and sweets as well as with the bright colors representing India and South Asia.

Over at Taco Mahal, they aim to expand people’s appetites by serving bold curry in a taco form. Owner Danikkah Josan said the business has doubled since they opened.

“When I first started the business, it was to get people to try Indian food. People were scared at the time to try curries,” Josan said.