What Is Diwali?

Diwali is an Indian holiday celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Jains.


Background behind Diwali

Diwali is a major religious holiday in Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, and Jainism. It lasts for five days from the dark half of the month of Ashvina to the second day of the light half of the lunar month Karttika. It usually falls in late October or early November in the Gregorian calendar. This year, Diwali begins on November second and ends on November sixth.  The third day of Diwali is the most celebrated. Different regions and cultures observe Diwali differently. Most Hindus light diyas (small earthenware lamps) to invite the presence of the Goddess Lakshmi. She is believed to be the goddess of wealth. In the region of Bengal, the goddess Kali is worshipped. In South India, the festival marks Krishna’s defeat of the demon Narakasura.

The history behind Diwali

Different parts of India have different views about the history behind Diwali. In North India, Diwali commemorates Prince Rama’s return to the city of Ayodhya after being exiled for 14 years and after saving his wife, Sita from the evil demon king Ravana. The city of Ayodhya is the center of political turmoil in  Uttar Pradesh in the modern day. In South India, the festival marks Krishna’s defeat of the demon Narakasura. Jains, Sikhs, and Buddhists also have different views on the history of Diwali. For Sikhs, Diwali celebrates the return of Guru Hargobind after twelve years of imprisonment under the Mughal emperor, Jahangir. Jains believe that Diwali is when Lord Mahavira, who was a great Jain teacher, achieved Nirvana. Buddhists celebrate Diwali as the day Emperor Ashoka converted to Buddhism.

Diwali in the Modern day

In the modern-day, Diwali is celebrated with firecrackers and food. It is celebrated with family and friends, and in my honest opinion, Diwali is very fun. People light diyas(lamps) and draw rangoli at their doorstep. Like Christmas, Diwali is also celebrated with gift-giving as well. Hindus clean their home, so the Goddess Lakshmi can come and bless them. In India, the 5 days of Diwali are public holidays. Streets, Houses, and Shops are all decorated.  On the other days of Diwali, prayer known as puja is done. People wear their best clothes during Diwali. Each day of Diwali is celebrated in a different way.  People all over the world celebrate Diwali differently. Diwali brings people together and gives people a sense of unity and happiness. I wish you a happy Diwali!






Sources: Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Diwali”. Encyclopedia Britannica, 4 Sep. 2021, https://www.britannica.com/topic/Diwali-Hindu-festival. Accessed 28 October 2021.