Diwali – sometimes also spelt Divali - is a religious festival whose name originates from the Sanskrit word dipavali, and is known as the ‘Festival of Lights’. Taking place over five days and nights, the festival traditionally celebrates how light conquers over darkness, as well as how good conquers over evil. For many people across the world, it’s the perfect time to get together with family and meet up with friends and enjoy each other’s company.
Diwali is mostly celebrated by Hindus, but it is also worshipped by those with Sikh beliefs, some Buddhists and also some people who believe in Jainism. Jainism is one of India’s oldest religions and is worshipped by around 0.4% of the population.
Diwali is a festival that it is celebrated across the globe in many different ways. People of Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and Sikh beliefs all take part in various customs to recognise the festival and do so in their own individual ways.
Diwali is a bright and vibrant festival. Traditionally, people fill the streets in joy, cover houses and buildings in beautiful, festive lights, and there is often lots of singing and dancing too. Colourful and lively fireworks are also set off, meaning that the festival can get quite noisy! It is believed that the noise and bright lights of the festival help to scare off evil spirits.
Sparklers are traditionally lit by children in villages, towns and cities across the world and lamps and candles are also seen far and wide in areas that celebrate. Many homes are decorated with rangoli decorations, which are normally made with beautiful flowers and colourful and bright sand, flour or rice.
The festival of Diwali is often seen as the perfect time to make peace with those around you and it is quite normal for people to make contact again with friends and family that they have perhaps not seen or spoken to for a while, so you can expect to see lots of reunions taking place during the festival too.
Diwali is often considered an opportunity for a fresh start and as a result some people cleanse, sort and decorate their homes to prepare for the upcoming Hindu new year.
Because the dates for Diwali are based on the Hindu Lunisolar calendar and because it takes place on the darkest night of the year, it means that the festival starts on different dates each year, although it normally falls between the middle of October and the middle of November. In 2022, Diwali celebrations begin on Sunday 23rd October and the last day of the festival is on Thursday 27th October.