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November & December 2015 World Festival: India

World Festivals: India

D i w a l i - Festival of Light

When: November 11-15, 2015

Where: in all of India

What is it?

Diwali is a festival that marks the victory of good over evil. It is the five-day festival of lights, celebrated by millions of Hindus, Sikhs and Jains in India and across the world. The festival, which coincides with the Hindu New Year, celebrates new beginnings and the triumph of light over darkness. The festival gets its name from the row (avali) of clay lamps (deepa) that Indians light outside their homes to symbolize the inner light that protects us from spiritual darkness.


D i w a l i

Celebrated in October or November each year, Diwali originated as a harvest festival that marked the last harvest of the year before winter. Today, this practice extends to businesses all over the Indian subcontinent, which mark the day after Diwali as the first day of the new financial year. Diwali is the biggest and the brightest festival in India.


D i w a l i

  • Over the centuries, Diwali has become a national festival that is enjoyed by most Indians regardless of faith: Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, and Sikhs.
  • The festival preparations and rituals extend over a 5-day period, but the main festival night of Diwali coincides with the darkest, new moon night of the Hindu Luni-solar month Kartika.
  • Before Diwali night, people clean, and decorate their homes and offices. On Diwali night, Hindus dress up in their best outfit, light up candles inside and outside their home, participate in a family puja (prayers) to Lakshmi – the goddess of wealth and prosperity.
    • On the same night that Hindus celebrate Diwali, Jains celebrate a festival of lights to mark the attainment of moksha by Mahavira, and Sikhs celebrate Bandi Chhor Divas. Diwali is an official holiday in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Malaysia, Singapore, Pakistan and Fiji .


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