For the related Nepalese festival, see Tihar. For the films, see Deepavali (disambiguation).
Diwali / Deepavali
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The Rangoli of Lights.jpg
Rangoli decorations, made using coloured powder or sand, are popular during Diwali.
Also called Deepavali
Observed by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Newar Buddhists
Type Cultural, seasonal, religious
Celebrations Diya and lighting, home decoration, shopping, fireworks, puja (prayers), gifts, performing religious rituals, feast and sweets
Begins Dhanteras, two days before Diwali
Ends Bhai Dooj, two days after Diwali
Date Varies per Hindu calendar
2017 date 19 October (Thursday)
18 October (Wednesday) in South India & Singapore
Related to Kali Puja, Galungan, Diwali (Jainism), Bandi Chhor Divas, Tihar, Swanti
Diwali or Deepavali (Tamil: தீபாவளி) is the Hindu festival of lights celebrated every year in autumn in the northern hemisphere (spring in southern hemisphere). It is an official holiday in Fiji, Guyana, India, Malaysia, Mauritius, Myanmar, Nepal, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago. One of the most popular festivals of Hinduism, it spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair. Its celebration includes millions of lights shining on housetops, outside doors and windows, around temples and other buildings in the communities and countries where it is observed. The festival preparations and rituals typically extend over a five-day period, but the main festival night of Diwali coincides with the dark night of the Hindu Lunisolar month Kartika in Bikram Sambat calendar (the month of Aippasi in Tamil Calendar), on the 15th of the month. In the Gregorian calendar, Diwali night falls between mid-October and mid-November.
Before Diwali night, people clean, renovate, and decorate their homes and offices. On Diwali night, people dress up in new clothes or their best outfits, light up diyas (lamps and candles) inside and outside their home, participate in family puja (prayers) typically to Lakshmi – the goddess of fertility and prosperity. After puja, fireworks follow, then a family feast including mithai (sweets), and an exchange of gifts between family members and close friends. Diwali also marks a major shopping period in nations where it is celebrated.
The name of festive days as well as the rituals of Diwali vary significantly among Hindus, based on the region of India. In many parts of India, the festivities start with Dhanteras (in northern and western part of India), followed by Naraka Chaturdasi on second day, Diwali on the third day, Diwali Padva dedicated to wife–husband relationship on the fourth day, and festivities end with Bhai Dooj dedicated to sister–brother bond on the fifth day. Dhanteras usually falls eighteen days after Dussehra
On the same night that Hindus celebrate Diwali, Jains celebrate a festival also called Diwali to mark the attainment of moksha by Mahavira, Sikhs celebrate Bandi Chhor Divas to mark the release of Guru Hargobind from a Mughal Empire prison, and Newar Buddhists, unlike the majority of Buddhists, celebrate Diwali by worshipping Lakshmi
Andhra Pradesh and Telangana
Diwali fireworks are celebrated near homes, in streets and as community events. Phuljhari (sparklers) are popular with some children.
Diwali is celebrated in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana on the same day as central, east, west and north India, and the festivities center over two days observed as state holidays – Naraka Chaturthasi and Deepavali Amaavasya (Diwali). The festivities start out at the crack of dawn and carry on well into the night. Most people make a trip to the local temple along with their families to seek the blessings of their respective gods. The night sky is lit up with a scintillating array of noisy fireworks.
Crackers at Diwali
Diwali is one of the seven most important festivals of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh and mainly it is celebrated with name Deepavali. It is very popular with children who celebrate Diwali because of the excitement of bursting firecrackers. Special shops to sell firecrackers are set up in all towns, cities and bigger villages. Some areas host local stage story telling called Hari Katha. Some areas may put a huge Narakasura dummy made with fireworks. This will be burst by a person dressed as Lord Krishna or, more accurately, a costume of Satyabhama, the consort of Lord Krishna, who actually killed the demon Narakasura; an event that is celebrated as Diwali for generations. The evening sky of Diwali is a colourful sight to watch.
People clean/white-wash or paint/decorate their homes as it is a very auspicious day; to welcome the goddess of wealth and prosperity i.e. Lakshmi devi to their homes. Homes are lit up with hundreds of diyas and colourful diwali rangolis adorn the doorways. After all this preparation all the members of the family perform the Lakshmi puja. Another custom involves decorating homes with paper figures.
Festivities cut across boundaries to move on from the small villages to the big towns, often beginning almost a month before Diwali. Sales of expensive silk saris, jewellery, ornaments, and household goods increase. From the poor to the rich, everyone indulges in the largest shopping spree of the year. Sweets, which are an integral part of any festival in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, are prepared or purchased from shops. The festival is full of messages depicting one or more aspects of human life, relationships, and ancient traditions.
In Puranas it was said that, Goddess Durga had taken rest at Vijayawada and the place is named as Indrakeeladri. Deepawali is celebrated with a great joy in Vijayawada. Lighting effect at Prakasam Barrage adds further tourist attraction.
Goa and Konkan
Diwali begins in Konkan and Goa on the day of Naraka Chaturdashi. The houses are cleaned and decorated with kandeel (known as akashdivo in Konkani), lamps, mango leaves, and marigold flowers. The utensils are made to shine, filled with water, and decorated for the holy bath the following morning. On the eve of Naraka Charurdashi, paper-made effigies of Narakasura, filled with grass and firecrackers symbolizing evil, are made. These effigies are burnt at around four o’clock in the morning. Firecrackers are burst, and people return home to take a scented oil bath. Lamps are lit in a line. The women of the house perform aarti of the men, gifts are exchanged, a bitter berry called kareet is crushed under the feet in token of killing Narkasur, symbolising evil and removal of ignorance. Different varieties of poha and sweets are made and eaten with family and friends. Festivities continue until Tulsi Vivah and lamps are lit every evening. Celebrations include Lakshmi puja on the Diwali day, Krishna puja or Govardhan puja and cattle worship on Balipratipada day, Bhaubeej, and Tulsi vivah.
Main article: Diwali in Gujarat
Floor Rangoli decoration in Gujarat
In Gujarat the Diwali celebrations take on a number of distinct characteristics.
Diwali occurs in the second (dark) lunar fortnight (Krishna Paksha) of the month of Ashvin (Gujarati: “Aaso”) and the first (bright) fortnight (Shukla Paksha) of Kartika (Guj: “Kartik”). Aaso is the last month of the Gujarati calendar, and Kartik the first.
Celebrations start earlier in Gujarat than in the rest of India, commencing on Agyaras, the 11th day of the Krishna Paksha of Aaso. On the 12th day is Vagh Baras, the festival of the cow and the calf. On the 13th day is Dhanteras, the days Diwali starts in the rest of India. The 14th (elsewhere known as Naraka Chaturdashi in South India and Choti Diwali in the North) is celebrated as Kali Choudas. The 15th (new moon day) is Lakshmi Puja, celebrated throughout India. The next day, the first day of Shukla Paksha of Kartik, is Bestu Varsh, New Year’s Day, start of the Gujarati calendar. The 2nd day of Kartik is Bhai Bij, the day Diwali ends. A further celebration takes place on the 5th day of Kartik, Labh Pancham.
Diwali Decoration at Bangalore Shopping Mall
Deepavali is celebrated as a five-day festival in Karnataka, with the third and fourth day called Thali Deepavali (concurs with Diwali, South India date) and Balipadyami Deepavali (the day after) respectively. The Balipadyami is also a state holiday in Karnataka.
Known as Deepavali (ದೀಪಾವಳಿ) in Karnataka, it is celebrated on the day before and day following Amavasye (New Moon Day) as Naraka Chaturdashi (before new-moon day) resembling Satyabhama’s victory over Narakasura and as Bali Padyami the first day of Kartika masa in remembrance of King Bali. The entire house is cleaned and new clothes are purchased for the entire family which is followed by lighting of oil lamps around the house and bursting firecrackers. The tradition in Kannada families is that all members gather together for the three days celebration. The thirteenth day of the Krishna Paksha is celebrated as “neeru tumbo habba” when the house is cleaned, painted afresh and the vessels are washed, bedecked and filled with fresh water for the festival. The next day is Naraka Chaturdashi, considered very auspicious. In parts of North Karnataka, the women of the house perform Aarti on the men. The next day is Lakshmi mahaapooje on Amavaasye (new-moon day). On the fourth day, the house, especially the entrance, is decorated with flowers and floor decorations to invite king Bali into their homes and do pooja. A special entrance to the home is built, made out of cow-dung (gOmaya) and Sandalwood (siri-chandana). Both materials are revered in Kannada tradition as having divine significance. The day is of special importance to agricultural families as they celebrate Govardhan Pooja on this day. The houses are adorned with Keraka (replica of the Govardhana giri using cow dung) bejewelled with flowers and maize, ragi stalks. Fire-camps are kindled on both Naraka Chaturdashi and Bali Padyami days of Deepavali. The celebration of Deepavali is marked by the lighting of lamps in every courtyard and the bursting of firecrackers. Ravtegh is a special Deepavali delicacy in Bangalore region. Holiges and Chakkulis are prepared in all households.
Diwali or popularly known locally as Deepavali, falls on the preceding day of the New Moon in the Malayalam month Thulam (October–November). The celebrations are based on the legend of Narakasura Vadha – where Sri Krishna destroyed the demon and the day Narakasura died is celebrated as Deepavali. It commemorates the triumph of good over evil. The story of King Bali is also associated with Diwali by Hindus in Kerala.
Preparations for Diwali start before the festival with people preparing sweets and savory snacks collectively called ‘Faral’. The snacks include Chakali, Laddu, Karanji, Chiwada and other festive foods.
In Maharashtra, Diwali starts from Vasubaras which is the 12th day of the 2nd half of the Marathi month Ashvin. This day is celebrated by performing an Aarti of the cow and its calf – which is a symbol of love between mother and her baby.
The next day is Dhana Trayodashi. Traders and business people give special importance to this festival. It is also considered an auspicious day for making important purchases, especially metals, including kitchenware and precious metals like silver and gold.
Homes, such as above, and buildings are decorated with festive lights for Diwali.
This is followed by Naraka Chaturdashi. On this day people get up early in the morning and take their bath before sunrise while stars are still visible. Bathing is an elaborate process on this day with abundant use of utnas, oils and perfumes, and is preceded by an Aarti.
The day after Naraka Chaturdashi comes Lakshmi-pooja. It occurs on Amavasya i.e. no moon day. The dark night is illuminated by lamps and at dusk firecrackers are burst. New account books are opened after a pooja. Generally the traders do not make any payments on that day to preserve Lakshmi in home. In every household, cash, jewellery and an idol of the goddess Lakshmi is worshipped. Friends, neighbours and relatives are invited over and celebrations are in full swing.
Bali Pratipada is the 1st day of Kartik in the Hindu calendar. It marks the start of Hindu financial year. It is a special day for Husband and wife. The wife puts tilak on her husbands forehead and he gives her an expensive gift. In recent times there is a growing trend of organising a cultural event called Diwali Padwa early in the morning.
Bhau-beej – it is the time when the bond of love between a brother and sister is further strengthened. The sister asks God for her brother’s(s’) long and successful life while she receives presents from her beloved brothers.
In Odisha, (Odia: ଦୀପାବଳୀ). The festival day starts with drawing rangolis in front of the house. The rangoli is drawn in the shape of sailboat on the ground in front of the house and is filled with items such as cotton, salt, mustard, asparagus root, turmeric and a wild creeper. Prasad is placed in the central chamber, over which a deepa of a jute stem with cloth wick is lit. This marks the beginning of Puja. Tarpanam – the ritual meant to invoke the spirits of the ancestors. Immediately after the dusk, all members of household gather for lighting Kaunria (pith of the jute plant). A lighted lamp is placed inside an earthen pot that is tied to a pole erected in front of the house. All the members then hold a bunch of jute stick in their hands and light them from the fire from the main deepa and raise the bunch towards the sky chanting the following verse. Then, in the presence of every member of the house, a bundle of the Kaunria is lit during the Puja and raised skywards accompanied with the chant: “Badbadua ho andhaara re aasa aalua re jaa” meaning “O’ forefathers come in the dark of the evening, we light your way to the heaven”. The significance of the ritual is that we show respect to our ancestors who reinforce their absence from the physical world by our presence.
Diwali in EA mall, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Known as Deepavali (தீபாவளி) in Tamil Nadu, it commemorates the death of Narakasura at the hands of Lord Sri Krishna. It is believed that Narakasura, a malevolent demon, tortured common people and they prayed to lord Krishna to defeat him. The people then celebrated Narakasura’s defeat with sparklers, lights and firecrackers. This celebration has continued down the generations as Deepavali. In Tamil Nadu, Deepavali falls on the 14th day preceding the amavasya (new moon) in the solar month of Aippasi (ஐப்பசி).[better source needed] The day begins with an early morning oil bath, wearing new clothes, bursting of firecrackers, visiting Lord Ganesha, Lord Vishnu and Shiva temples. The exchange of sweets between neighbours, visiting relations, and preparing Deepavali special sweets are traditions of the day.
Typical Deepavali celebrations begin with waking up early in the morning, before sun rise, followed by an oil-bath. The bathing tradition involves extensive massaging of warm sesame oil containing black pepper corns and betel leaves. After bath, a home-made medicine known as “Deepavali Lehiyam” is consumed, which is supposed to aid in soothing digestive problems that may ensue because of feasting that occurs later in the day. Sparklers, firecrackers and lights are used extensively, much like the rest of the world where Deepavali is celebrated. Tamil Nadu always celebrates Deepavali on the day of, Naraka Chaturdashi preceding new moon in the month of aippasi. In Tamil Nadu, Deepavali is calculated when chaturdashi prevails during sunrise, precisely at 4am-6am. If chaturdashi prevails after 6am it is not considered. For example, if chaturdashi tithi begins at 2:30 pm the preceding day and ends at 1pm next day, the next day will be celebrated as Deepavali. Unlike much of the rest of India, lamps are not lit on Deepavali in Tamil Nadu. Instead, lamps are lit on the night of Karthikai Deepam, in the Tamil solar month of Karthikai. Also lakshmi puja is not very important. Most important Deepavali ritual is “Kedara gowri vratam” also known as”nombu”(நோன்பு) which would be done by most families on amavasya day. Some families do it on Chaturdashi day.
Diwali is the most important festival in this state and is celebrated with great vigor and gaiety. Diwali is celebrated in memory of Lord Rama’s victory over the demon king Ravana and his subsequent homecoming to Ayodhya after 14 years in exile. People wear colourful clothes throughout the Diwali festival, and enthusiasm is visible over the entire festival. The ghats of Varanasi come alive with thousands of brightly lit earthen lamps. Visitors throng in large numbers to watch this. Fairs and art festivals are held in the state, a venue for fun and shopping. Other celebrations, such as puja, fireworks, sweets and gifts exchange are similar to the rest of India.Diwali is celebrated with pomp and antiquity in Uttar Pradesh. It is celebrated as the Festival of Lights. The festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm the children and the old.
Diwali Aakash Kandil
Diwali Rangoli with Light
In this region, Diwali marks the killing of Narakasura: Celebrated as Naraka Chaturdashi, one day before Diwali, it commemorates the killing of the evil demon Narakasura, who wreaked havoc. In different versions, either Krishna or Krishna’s wife Satyabhama killed Narakasura during the Dwapara yuga. The festival is celebrated over six days. It starts with Govatsa Dwadashi. Go means cow and vatsa means calf. Dwadashi means the 12th day. The story associated with this day is that of King Prithu, son of the tyrant King Vena. Because of the ill rule of Vena, there was a terrible famine and earth stopped being fruitful. Prithu chased the earth, who is usually represented as cow, and ‘milked’ her, meaning that he brought prosperity to the land. On second day, people shop for utensils, clothes, gold and other items. The third day is called Chaturdashi, the day on which the demon Narakasura was killed by Krishna – an incarnation of Vishnu. It signifies the victory of good over evil and light over darkness. The day is celebrated with puja, fireworks, and feast. The fourth day, is Diwali night, celebrated like rest of India. The fifth day is Govardhan Puja, celebrated as the day Krishna defeated Indra by the lifting of Govardhana hill to save his kinsmen and cattle from rain and floods. Symbolic mountains of food are prepared representing the Govardhan hill lifted by Krishna, then shared in the community. The last day is Yama Dwitiya where brothers and sisters meet to mark their bond, love and affection for each other. If sister is married and lives in a distant area, the brothers typically visit their sisters’ place on this day and usually have a meal there. The brothers also bring and give gifts to their sisters.
West Bengal, Bihar & Assam
Main article: Kali puja
Kali Puja is light-up night for West Bengal, Mithila region of Bihar and Assam. Kali Puja coincides with the festival of Diwali (pronounced Dipaboli in Bengali), (in Maithili, it is known as Diya-Baati) where people light diyas/candles in memory of the souls of departed ancestors. The goddess Kali is worshipped, not Lakshmi, for whole night on one night during this festival. The festival is popularly called Kali puja, not Diwali. Kali puja is also known by the names of Shyama puja or Nisha puja in parts of the Mithila region and West Bengal. Many people also celebrate this festival by lighting earthen lamps (deeps) which is a significance of Lord ram winning over the evil Ravana.
Deepavali is celebrated around the world, particularly in countries with significant populations of Hindu, Newar Buddhist, Jain and Sikh origin. These include Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Myanmar, Bhutan, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Mauritius, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and other the Caribbean nations, the Netherlands, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and the United States. With more understanding of Indian culture and global migration of people of Indian origin, the number of countries where Diwali/Deepavali is celebrated has been gradually increasing. While in some countries it is celebrated mainly by Indian expatriates, in others it is becoming part of the general local culture. In most of these countries Diwali is celebrated on the same lines as described in this article with some minor variations.
It is an official holiday in Fiji, Guyana, India, Malaysia (except Sarawak), Mauritius, Myanmar, Nepal (as Tihar), Singapore, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago.
Diwali fireworks in Melbourne
In Australia, Diwali is celebrated publicly among the people of Indian origin and the local Australians in Brisbane and Melbourne. Diwali at Federation Square has been embraced warmly by the mainstream Victorian population beginning in 2006. The event has now become a part of the Melbourne Arts calendar and is celebrated over a week in the city.