Diwali Celebration Diwali is a holiday celebrated around the world that got its start in India.
It’s a harvest festival, but it’s also an important religious celebration for Hindus, Jains and Sikhs.
Even people who don’t belong to those three religions celebrate Diwali in India and other places in south Asia. It’s like Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve combined!
A festival of lights
Diwali is called the festival of lights! Rows of lamps are lit inside and outside homes and buildings for the holiday. Imagine how bright that must be!
These lamps are called deepavali (say “deep-a-vallee”), which is where we get the word Diwali.
The lights line the street and even are floated down rivers on little boats.
Nowadays the traditional small lamps are joined by electric light displays and LEDs.
All these lights represent the triumph of light over dark and the power of good over evil.
In the Hindu religion it’s also a time to honour the gods and goddesses, especially the goddess Lakshmi, who is believed to step inside your home if it is clean (wait, does that mean I should tidy my room?).
The five days of Diwali
Traditionally, each day of Diwali has a different focus.
- The first day is usually a shopping day, especially for gold or silver.
- The second day is used to decorate the home.
- The third day is the main day of the festival with fireworks at night and a feast with family and friends.
- On the fourth day spouses exchange gifts.
- On the fifth day brothers and sisters spend time together.
Diwali around the world
Millions of people around the world celebrate Diwali.
It’s an official holiday in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Trinidad and Tobago, Myanmar and Fiji — just to name a few.
In places like Melbourne, Australia and Leicester, England, there are fireworks and street festivals attended by tens of thousands of people!
In India, families will clean their homes and buy new clothes.
Businesses settle up their accounts and get their finances in order for the new year.
During the festival, complicated designs called rangoli (say “rang-o-lee”) are made on floors or the ground using coloured rice or powder to bring good luck.
Families also visit each other bringing gifts and sweets.
Here in Canada, there are celebrations across the country, with Indian music and dancing.
It’s a great time to make your own rangoli art or just eat delicious food!