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Diwali - Hindu Festival of Lights

Updated on July 18, 2016
Diwali celebrates the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness, life over death.  it is a time of hope and new beginnings
Diwali celebrates the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness, life over death. it is a time of hope and new beginnings

Each year in October and November, Indian people who are followers of the Hindu religion celebrate the festival of Diwali by decorating their homes with hundreds of little lamps called divas.

The word Diwali is a contraction of deepavali - which literally means "cluster of lights" or "row of lamps" and the festival symbolises the triumph of light over darkness.

Diwali is one of the most ancient Hindu festivals in India where it is a national holiday and celebrated by Indian people all over the world. Diwali is celebrated for five days where the third day is celebrated as the main Diwali festival or the Festival of lights.

This is an old festival and there are several different stories about its origin. There are many people believe that the festival began in the times of the great Hindu epic legend, the Ramayan.

Rama, the hero of the story was a prince who was unjustly banished from his father's kingdom. After fourteen years he finally returned home to become king and the people were so overjoyed that they lit lamps everywhere to welcome him.

Other people believe that at Diwali the souls of their ancestors return to take part in the festival and that oil lamps are lit to guide them back to the other world.

Lakshmi | Source

According to one of the Hindu calendars used in the north of India, Diwali marks the beginning of the new year and at this time shopkeepers generally close their accounts, place their books before a picture of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and pray to her for better profits in the coming year.

Legend tells that, Lakshmi was born in the ocean. when she was born lots of treasures came out of the ocean, so she is the goddess of wealth and good fortune.

Hindus believe that a Diwali visit from Lakshmi will bring them luck and wealth in the year to come.

Lakshimi is the Hindu deity most closely associated with Diwali and it is customary to pay one's debt and pray to her during the festival. Images of the goddess are often carried through the streets in processions.

Traditional clay lamps called diwas are palced at doors and windows throughout the festival of diwali.
Traditional clay lamps called diwas are palced at doors and windows throughout the festival of diwali.

On the night of the Diwali festival, Indian towns and cities are full of colour and light, since the shops are all decorated and lamps are lit in the streets and temples, as well as in homes. Often bottles of coloured water are placed in front of the lamps to give them a coloured glow.

The festival of Diwali is not complete without exchanging gifts of sweets and visiting relatives. Hindus love sweet desserts such as rice puddings or cheese balls in a sweet syrup called rassogolla. Hindus believe that gifts of sweets encourage people to think sweet things about them.

Diwali Greetings

Diwali - Festival of Lights


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    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 3 years ago

      Thank you. I work for an Indian based company and most of the people in my neighborhood are Indians. Celebrations here were relatively low key, though there were some lights and fireworks. This article taught me what the celebration is all about.

    • russinserra profile image

      Russ Inserra 3 years ago from Indianapolis, In

      Thanks for this article.

    • WeeCatCreations1 profile image

      Susan Caplan McCarthy 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Thank you for explaining the core of this holiday. I've heard of Diwali, but this article has given me a better appreciation of this festival.

    • Tashaonthetown profile image

      Natasha Pelati 3 years ago from South Africa

      Great article about Diwali! The festival of lights started here in South Africa last night and will be in full swing tonight.

    • profile image

      me 5 years ago

      what is the main colours of this festival?

      thanks :)

    • profile image

      aditya jaiswal 5 years ago

      thanku so nice .....

    • profile image

      dale 6 years ago


      I was wondering when exactly Diwali occurs? Also, there are very big parades here each year (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada)for Diwali, I would like to go next year and experience the festivities but do not want to disturb anyone. Would I be welcome or is this religious ceremony considered a private affair?



    • profile image

      omprakash saini 6 years ago

      happy diwali very nice day

    • profile image

      hitesh patel 6 years ago

      happy diwali jay sai ran

    • profile image

      Ranjit pal 6 years ago

      I wish the full of smile diwali for allllll ? Jai setaram ?

    • Manasidas profile image

      Manasidas 7 years ago from Kolkata

      nice and interesting hub. Thanks for sharing. to know more on Diwali you can also visit this page

    • profile image

      kat 7 years ago

      quite cool...

    • hindufestivals profile image

      hindufestivals 7 years ago from India

      This is my favorite festival. Love the atmosphere.

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 8 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Such a lovely celebration. Thanks for all the information and the photos with the words of wisdom!

    • MM Del Rosario profile image

      MM Del Rosario 8 years ago from NSW, Australia

      Hi CV,

      Thank you very much for your comment, i have a lot of Indian friends, they have shown me pictures, they have brought Indian foods especially sweets at work and I have heard a lot of stories from them and I really become interested in this festivity.

    • C.V.Rajan profile image

      Disillusioned 8 years ago from Kerala, India

      So nice to read such a neat presentation about an Indian festival by a Filipino writing from Australia!

    • prasadjain profile image

      Dr.S.P.PADMA PRASAD 8 years ago from Tumkur

      Information here is proper. Thank you for the interest you are having in knowing about Indian festivals.

      This festival is celebrated not only by Hindus, but also by Jains. (These two are different relegions, with lot of philosophical difference)They celebrate it the salvation of the 24th thirthankara Mahaveera,who lived in 6th century B.C.

    • profile image

      lyricsingray 8 years ago

      I really enjoyed learning about this and your hub. Thank you, Kimberly

    • ocbill profile image

      ocbill 8 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

      exactly my words. really interesting. is this also where the colours are sprinkled over visitors and passers by?

    • The Good Cook profile image

      The Good Cook 8 years ago

      Very interesting!