Diwali: Explained

Diwali is being celebrated by over a billion people around the world for five days in November, and many want to learn more about this important ritual that focuses on a beautiful message we can all enjoy. Read on.

Culture Nov 17, 2020

Diwali comes from the sanskrit word deepavali, meaning 'rows of lighted lamps.'

Candles and lights adorn the celebrations

What is Diwali?

Diwali is a five-day festival with the main focus on day 3 – November 14th this year – also known as Lakshmi Puja day, and is enjoyed by more than a billion people across the world's Hindu, Sikh and Jain communities.

The essence of the celebrations is that the divine light of Diwali will emanate peace, prosperity, luck, good fortune, happiness, and health into the lives of humanity.

The five days broken down:

a. Dhanteras — On the first day of Diwali, people will perform rituals called puja, or pooja, and place tea lights around the balconies or entryways of homes.

b. Narak Chaturdashi — Different regions celebrate this day uniquely, however, many will spend time at home and exchange desserts with family or friends.

Traditional Diwali Sweets

c. Lakshmi Puja — This main celebratory day is to worship the goddess Lakshmi. Families may dress up and gather to offer prayers, light fireworks, share meals, and more.

Sparkler fun

d. Govardhan Puja — This day is associated with Lord Krishna and the Gujarati new year. Many food offerings are prepared for puja.

e. Bhaiya Dooj — The last day is dedicated to celebrating the sibling bond; oftentimes, brothers will visit and bring gifts to their sisters, who return the honor with memorable rituals and sweets.

What do people wear during the festival?

Women wear elegant, unstitched drape known as a Sari, made of crepe, silk, velvet, and chiffon, while men wear a classic, loose, collarless shirt called a Kurta.

Traditional Sari

What to bring to a Diwali gathering?

During some research for this piece, we read one person's recommendation for a Diwali gift in the form of a candle, to which someone else responded, 'That's like bringing a Christmas stocking to a Christmas gathering.' Fair enough. Apparently, flowers, sweets, gift baskets, silver tea sets, jewelry and clothing are appropriate alternatives.

Indian sweets, festive gifts

With an emphasis on the good in each of us, the light that emanates within all of us and around us, and a collective energy toward new beginnings, we can all use a bit of Diwali in our lives...and the five-day sugar high is a welcomed bonus!


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