Photo Courtesy: [Khokarahman/Wikimedia Commons]

Everything you need to know about the Festival of Lights

Quick notes:

  • Diwali means different things for different religions, but always marks the triumph of light over darkness

  • It lasts for five days and includes fireworks, feasts, and art

  • Diwali usually falls in October or November and is celebrated in countries all over the world

You may have heard the name floating around — Diwali — but what is it?

This holiday is prominent in the country of India, just as big as Christmas is for Christians, and it has a fascinating history behind it. The name comes from the word deepavali, which is Sanskrit for “lighted lamps in rows,” and that’s precisely what takes place during this holiday. Candles, oil lamps, and clay lamps are set out by people everywhere for the five eventful days of Diwali.

What are they celebrating?

Diwali has different meanings for different groups of people. Hindus are celebrating the history of two deities named Rama and Sita and their return from a 14-day exile. For those that belong to the Jain religion, Diwali marks the achievement of nirvana (or spiritual enlightenment) by an important figure named Lord Mahavira.

Photo Courtesy: [Mohsin Marui/Pexels]
Sikhs celebrate yet another sacred moment when the sixth guru Hargobind Singh was let out of prison. And the list goes on! Few people in India don’t celebrate Diwali, especially considering it is officially a national holiday, and they all have their particular reasons for celebrating. Despite all of these varying beliefs, however, there is a common thread that runs through every religion: the triumph of good forces over evil forces.

In other words, Diwali honors the light beating out the dark.

What do they do during Diwali?

As we mentioned, Diwali lasts for five days. That’s a long time to celebrate a holiday! During this time, families indulge in sweets and desserts, and everyone takes to the streets to enjoy firework displays. Thanks to these traditions, Diwali is popular among young children as well as adults. After all, who doesn’t love good food and fireworks?

Diwali lasts for five days

Another common practice is the creation of rangoli, intricate designs made of colored sand (similar to mandalas). People create these works of art outside of their homes or on a flat surface, where they may be swept away by wind and rain only to be made again the following day.

The main attraction of Diwali, however, is the light. Shopkeepers set out candles and lamps in their establishments, kids line the streets with them, and fireworks light the sky so that wherever you go, there is brightness and happiness. It serves as a reminder that beauty and goodness are everywhere.

As with any other holiday, there are also great feasts and families traveling to visit each other.

When does this holiday take place?

“Shush Deepavali!” – “Happy Diwali” in Hindu

The dates of Diwali change from year to year, but it usually falls in October or November. In 2019, Diwali began on October 27th and ended November 1st, but they do tend to recognize Tuesday as the central day of celebration during Diwali.

It seems there is an endless list of reasons to celebrate Diwali; it also marks the Hindu New Year and is a chance for people to honor the goddess of wealth Lakshmi. It is thought that the lights help illuminate Lakshi’s way into people’s homes and neighborhoods, bringing good fortune for the year ahead

Keep in mind that Diwali is not just celebrated in India — other countries observe this holiday, as well, including Nepal, Guyana, Britain, Malaysia, and many more. If one thing is for sure, the festivities of Diwali can be enjoyed by anyone who believes in goodness and light over darkness and evil!

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