Diwali is a festival of light which originated in South Asia and is celebrated over five days. The dates change every year, but it is always celebrated in October or November and is now celebrated around the world.

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Diwali comes from the word deepavali, which means ‘rows of lighted lamps’. During the festival, these lamps, called diyas, are used everywhere. They symbolise the victory of light over darkness, or good over evil.

Diwali is celebrated differently in different regions and by different religions and is a bank holiday in many countries, including India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Myanmar, Singapore, Malaysia, Mauritius, Fiji, Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago. It is often considered a Hindu festival, but in fact it is also celebrated by Sikhs, Jains and Newari Buddhists.

Here are some of the things that happen during the five days of Diwali.

Day One – Dhanteras, or Day of Fortune

The first day has a focus on fortune, both good luck and money or valuables. People may wash money to show that they intend to use it to do good in the world. It is also a day for helping people who are not as well off.

It is a lucky day for buying gold and silver and other metals, so people often buy jewellery or cars, or anything made of metal. It is estimated that last year Indians spent about $3.9 billion during Diwali.

People also make sure that their houses are clean, ready to welcome in Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth and Prosperity, in the evening.

Day Two – Naraka Chaturdashi

According to Hindu stories, the demon Narakasura was killed on this day. The day is all about getting rid of anything bad. People get up early and wash and put on clean or new clothes.

Afterwards, they will celebrate by having a special breakfast with their friends and family. This day, also known as Chhoti Diwali, is a day for visiting friends, business associates and relatives, and for exchanging gifts.  

Day Three – Diwali

In most regions, this is the most important day of the festival. It is the last day of the year in many regions of India. The story goes that on this day, Lord Rama rescued his wife, Sita, from the demon Ravana. Candles are lit to celebrate his victory, and to light his way home after the battle. In the evening, people may set off fireworks.

Day Four – Annakut

Annakut means ‘mountain of food’. Hindus prepare a great deal of food and take it to the temple to celebrate the beginning of the new year.

Food is important throughout the period of Diwali, especially traditional sweet treats such as gulab jamun (a very sweet deep-fried doughnut), kheer (a creamy dessert made with rice) or barfi (a sweet made with condensed milk and sugar).

Day Five – Bhai Dhooj

This is the last day of Diwali, and it also sometimes celebrates the relationship between brother and sister. Brothers may visit their married sisters’ homes, and they will take gifts.

A universal symbol

Diwali is celebrated by millions of people in India and across the world. The festival marks different historical events and stories for each faith that celebrates it, but for all the faiths it symbolises the victory of good over evil, and light over darkness, which means something to all of us.

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Submitted by Peter M. on Thu, 31/10/2019 - 08:34

In reply to by HRN1970


Hello HRN1970,

Yes, you are quite right! Well spotted, and thank you for pointing this out. I'll edit the text accordingly.



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Submitted by parisaach on Wed, 16/10/2019 - 09:15

We have some important festivals and events in my country, some of them are religious and some of them back to our old tradition of Iran. In our religion people just learned to cry and be sad all year round, but our traditional festivals are full of love, joy and dance The most popular festivals in my country are 'Nowruz' , 'Shabe Chele' and '4shanbe Soori' but there are many other traditions that all are cheerful. In our tradition we had a feast almost in each month of year. All of them have a meaningful and interesting background that most of Persian people don't know anything about them today.

Submitted by Binitachowdhury on Fri, 24/05/2019 - 11:29

In my country, there are many festivals celebrated such as Durga Puja , the birthday of shri Krishna , dewali, holly, which are celebrated cordially by Hindu religious people. On the other hand, eid-ul-fitar is an important festival for mulims people’. But in my country there are several day which is celebrated with great respect like as 16th December, victory day , 26th march,independence day etc. Personally for me, Durga puja is the most important festival because it is celebrated for five days. First Four days of this festival we will celebrate through praying to durga ma to wear a clean& new clothes , in those day we offer her many sweets, fruits and many this.it is the day that Durga comes to hers fathers house then last 5th day immersion her idol to the water. I really enjoyedthose days.

Submitted by gullıstan on Mon, 18/02/2019 - 19:29

Hello to everyone. I live in Turkey, where religious and national festivals are celebrated with great care. one of them is ramadan holiday. We celebrate Ramadan for 3 days after fasting for 1 month. beautiful dishes are prepared and beautiful and clean clothes are worn. we visit our family elders and our neighbors. Children celebrate the holiday and knock on your door and give them candies. Another holiday is the 29th of October. since this is the year the republic was established, celebrations are held in many places of our country. We have a colorful country.
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Submitted by Wang Zijian on Sun, 17/02/2019 - 12:36

The most important festival in China is Spring Festival. It takes place in January or February each year according to lunar calendar. People across our nation are moving from where they are working to their hometowns to get together with their families. We usually watch TV galas, cook foods like dumplings, play games like Poker, visit relatives and set fireworks and so on. It's a seven-day holiday for now. We really can do and want to do a lot of wonderful things.