What: Diwali, or Deepavali literally means “festival of lights.” It is the biggest celebrated holiday for Hinduism, Sikhism, and Jainism. It’s a 5-day festival that usually falls during October/November, marking autumn as the festive season.
- Modern practice has been defined by a religious prayer followed by parties, card-playing, dressing up, a Thanksgiving-style feast, intensive house cleaning, the distribution of sweets and gifts to family and friends, the lighting of firecrackers and candles, fireworks, and spending time with family and friends.
- The date varies every year, as it’s according to the Hindu calendar.
- Each of the 5 days hold a different significance.
- Diwali is usually the celebration on the 3rd day of the festival.
- Diwali is an official holiday in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, Malaysia, Singapore, and Fiji.
- Lights are left on all night to welcome the Goddess Lakshmi (Hindu Goddess responsible for prosperity).
When: November 13, 2012
Where: All over India, and a few other countries in the region with large Hindu/Sikh/Jain populations
Who: Anyone and everyone!
Why: Diwali celebrates the triumph of good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance, as depicted in Indian mythology. The story behind the festival and the accompanying celebrations vary across the country.