Diwali – The Festival of Lights
Posted by: Racheal Foo, Manager, Marketing Communications & Events
Diwali, the Festival of Lights is one of the most significant festivals in Indian culture. It is celebrated by millions of Hindus, Sikhs and Jains around the world. Each community celebrates it for a significant reason, the most common is to mark the triumph of light over darkness and good over evil.
If you have relocated to a location that observes Diwali, here are some ‘fun facts’ about the festival, enjoy!
• Diwali lasts for five days, marking the start of the Hindu New Year. The exact dates change each year and are determined by the position of the moon or the Hindu Lunar Calendar, but it usually falls between October and November.
• The word Diwali (or Deepavali) means “the row of lighted lamps” in Hindi. During the festival, people decorate their homes with lights and oil lamps, called diyas.
• For many, Diwali honours the Hindu goddess of wealth, Lakshmi. The lights and lamps are said to help Lakshmi find her way into peoples’ homes, bringing prosperity for the year to come!
• Like Christmas, Diwali is celebrated with family, friends and loved ones. During the festival people exchange gifts and sweets, host dinners and offer prayers to goddess Lakshmi.
• Rangoli, beautiful patterns made using colourful powders and flowers, is a popular Diwali tradition. People draw rangoli on the floor by the entrance of their homes to welcome the gods and bring good luck.
• Diwali is also a major shopping festival. There are special discounts and offers that businesses provide to their customers. Buying new things during this festival is considered to be good.
• Sarees are a traditional Indian costume and adorned by many Indian women during Diwali. As the longest garments in the world, sarees typically measure around six metres in length, and come in a multitude of colours and intricate patterns. Traditional hand-woven silk sarees made in the Indian cities of Kanchipuram and Benares remain the timeless favourites during Diwali.
• Outside of India, Diwali is also a national public holiday in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, Malaysia, Singapore, and Fiji. One of the largest Diwali celebrations held outside of India is in the British city of Leicester, in the Golden Mile area.
And lastly, Deepavali Vazhthukkal (or “Valthukkal”) means Happy Deepavali in Tamil. So we would like to wish everyone, Deepavali Vazhthukkal and many blessing for the new year!