The Festival of Lights

The lights and candles in Diwali represent the victory of good over evil and light over dark.

All About Diwali

Diwali is a five day festival, celebrated all over India and elsewhere, usually taking place in October or November. Diwali is derived from the Sanskrit term Dipavali meaning "row of lights." During the festival lamps filled with oil are lighted and placed along temples, houses, rivers, and streams. It is celebrated with family gatherings where they share treats, make bond fires, and decorate the house. Decorations include flowers, glitter, lamps, fireworks, and strings of electric lights. Many families leave their windows and doors open for the belief that Lakshmi wanders the earth looking for homes where she will be welcomed.

Beliefs Of Diwali

Diwali is a major religious festival in Hinduism, but it is also celebrated by Jains, Buddhists, and Sikhs. Depending on location, different gods and goddesses are worshiped during Diwali. In northern India it celebrates Rama's return from 14 years of exile. In Gujarat the festival worships Lakshmi the goddess of wealth, while in Nepal Diwali honors Lord Krishna's victory over the demon King Narakaasura. Lastly in Bengal it celebrates the goddess Kali.

The Five Days Of Diwali

Each of the five days during Diwali, has different customs. On the first day housewives believe it brings them good luck to spring clean their homes. They also sometimes shop for kitchen utensils. During the second day families decorate their homes with extravagant decorations. On the third day people gather for prayer, followed by large feasts, and festive fireworks. The fourth day of Diwali marks the first day of the new year. Families celebrate with gifts, and they share their hopes and wishes for the new season. Lastly, on the fifth and final day brothers visit their married sisters for a meal.
During Diwali lanterns are hung up all around the cities and towns.

Did You Know?

  • Gambling during Diwali is believed to bring good luck and prosperity in the year ahead.
  • Diwali is a national holiday for India, Trinidad & Tobago, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Guyana, Suriname, Singapore, Malaysia, and Fiji.

Works Sited

"Diwali." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online School Edition.
Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 2013. Web. 25 Apr. 2013. <http://school.eb.com/eb/article-9030695>.

National Geographic Kids: http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids/

"Diwali, India's Festival of Lights" April 25 2013 http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids/stories/peopleplaces/diwali/

BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/

"Diwali" April 25 2013