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All you need to know about Diwali – from start date to how it’s celebrated

Diwali will take place in November this year. and will be celebrated across the whole world world in various ways, here’s everything you need to know about the Indian festival of lights

Symbolising wealth and fortune, the festival of lights falls in November this year

Derived from the Sanskrit word “dipavali” which means “row of lights,” Diwali is celebrated on the 15th day of the Hindu month of Kartik, which falls between October and November.

Though the date of the festival changes every year, Diwali typically falls on the day of the new moon or Amavasy, which is holy to Hindus and considered the darkest night of the year.

Rooted in Hinduism but also celebrated by Jains, Sikhs, and Buddhists around the world, celebrations include decorating the home, prayer, feasting, exchanging gifts, visiting the temple, and gathering with family members.

Rituals and preparations for Diwali begin days or weeks in advance, after the festival of Dussehra which precedes Diwali by around 20 days.



Photo by SANJEEV GUPTA/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock. People around the world celebrate Diwali by decorating homes, dressing up and bursting fireworks
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Image:

SANJEEV GUPTA/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)




Here are all the details about Diwali including its origin and how its celebrated.

What is Diwali?

Diwali takes place each year between mid-October and mid-November after the conclusion of harvest, coinciding with the new moon.

The festival which is celebrated across five days means different things for different people. For Hindus, Diwali honours the return of Lord Rama and Sita to Ayodhya after their 14-year exile.



Though rooted in Hinduism, Diwali means is celebrated with pomp and enthusiasm by Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists alike
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Image:

Getty Images)




On the other hand Sikhs celebrate the release of the sixth guru Hargobind Singh from prison in 1619, while Jains celebrate it as the moment their founder Lord Mahavira attained, a state of eternal bliss or nirvana.

It is also a celebration of the day Goddess Durga destroyed a demon called Mahisha and is widely associated with Goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and good fortune.

Described as the festival of lights not only because of its name but because it’s said to symbolise the spiritual “victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance.”

When is Diwali 2021?

This year, Diwali falls at the start of November beginning with Dhanteras on November 2. This is followed by Choti Diwali the next day and Diwali on November 4.





Padwa which falls on November 5 often sees people exchange gifts and the fifth day Bhai Dhuj on November 6 will be used to honour one’s siblings.

How is the festival celebrated?

Over five days, people prepare for Diwali by cleaning and decorating their homes. On the third day, the darkest day of the month, people dress up, light up their homes, businesses and temples with oil lamps and worship Lakshmi.



The festival of lights is described as a “victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance.”
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Image:

Flickr/San Sharma)




Families also cook traditional Indian sweets, light fireworks, enjoy delicious feasts with their families and give each other gifts.

Many towns even organise community parades and fairs with parades, music and dance performances in parks.


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