Diwali - Everything you need to know
TD Team | 24 October 2022
Diwali, the ‘Festival of Lights’ is a colourful and vibrant religious five-day festival celebrated every year by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains around the world. It's one of the top things you can experience on a holiday to India.
What is Diwali?
Originating from ancient Indian times, Diwali symbolises Good triumphing over Evil, the victory of Light over Darkness and Knowledge over Ignorance. The word Diwali is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘dipavali’, which means a row of lights. Depending on the region you live in India and your religion, there are various reasons for celebrating Diwali and it marks different stories and historical events.
When is Diwali?
Diwali takes places every year, either in October or November, depending on the position of the Moon.
How is Diwali celebrated?
People illuminate their homes, temples and offices with diyas, candles and lanterns. In the build up to Diwali, people often redecorate or clean their houses and decorate their floors with rangoli, colourful artwork patterns created with flour, rice, sand or flower petals. Gifts are often exchanged, girls will receive new saris and boys will be given new ‘kurta pajama’, marking a fresh start to the new year. And of course, fireworks are a huge part of Diwali!
Depending on your region, Diwali is celebrated for Lord Krishna’s defeat of the demon Narakasur and the homecoming of Lord Rama to Ayodhya after fourteen years in exile. The holiday starts with a ritual ceremony or ‘puja’ to celebrate the victory of light against the darkness.
Sikhs celebrate Bandi Chhorh Divas, which coincides with Diwali to mark the release of Guru Hargobind Sahibji and 52 royal members of India who were held captive by Shah Jahan, a mogul emperor in 1619. Ever since, Sikhs light up the Golden Temple in Amritsar to celebrate his homecoming.
For Jains, Diwali marks the Nirvana or liberation of Lord Mahavira’s soul from the cycle of death and reincarnation. Diwali is also an occasion to celebrate Lord Mahavira's teachings to Jainism by lighting lamps to signify the light of his knowledge.
Traditional Diwali Cuisine in India
Undoubtedly, a key highlight of Diwali is the delicious food! Huge feasts are prepared and traditional Indian dishes are consumed, such as Samosas and Mithai, the name given to Indian sweets and desserts and it’s traditional to exchange a box with friends and family.
Even if you don't get the opportunity to experience Diwali, our guided India holidays will take you to ancient forts, majestic temples, bustling markets, as well as exploring the hidden corners of Delhi, Jaipur, Agra and Varanasi.
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