The date of Diwali changes from year to year – it varies according to the Hindu Lunisolar calendar – but it is usually in October or November. This year the main festivities took place on Wednesday 11 November, but the preparations began on Monday 9 November and rituals will be going on for five days. There are other festive days surrounding the main day of Diwali too. The main celebration is marked by Dhanteras (specific to some Northern and Western parts of India), Naraka Chaturdasi on the second day, Deepawali on the third, Diwali Padva (a day to honour married couples) on the fourth day and Bhau-beej, a day to honour siblings, on the fifth.
Diwali (Deepavali) means rows of lights
Diwali is known as the festival of lights because of the oil lamps and electric lights that people use to decorate homes, businesses and public spaces. Light is the most important physical and spiritual symbol of the holiday.
People spend a lot of time (and money) getting ready
Families spend days cleaning and decorating their homes in preparation for Diwali. They also shop for new clothes and outfits to wear to celebrations. Therefore, during Diwali days of the year there are big crowds in every mall in India, similar to crowds we see around Christmas or Thanksgiving in western world.
Dear members from India or other countries celebrating, how do you celebrate this holiday? Please tell us something about traditions in your family or community in the comment section below.