Diwali is the five day festival of lights which is celebrated by millions of Sikhs, Hindus and Jains around the world.

It is a festival of new beginnings which originated in India and celebrates how light can overpower darkness, the triumph of good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance. 

Lights are an important symbol of Diwali and they signify a time to destroy all darkest desires and thoughts and give us the strength to carry on with our good will for the rest of the year.

When is it?

The date of Diwali changes every year depending on the position of the moon but the festival usually falls in either October or November.

For Hindus, the festival coincides with the celebration of the Hindu New Year.

This year, the festival is taking place from October 22nd to October 26th, with the main celebrations happening on Monday 24th October. 

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What does the word ‘Diwali’ mean?

Diwali originates from the Sanskrit word Deepavali which means ‘rows of lighted lamps.’

During the festival, people decorate their homes with lights and oil lamps, called diyas. 

How do people celebrate?

Traditional celebrations during Diwali include:

  • Lights and oil lamps lit in homes and streets
  • People gather with their families for feasts
  • Sweets are shared out 
  • People wear their finest clothes
  • Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth, is honoured to help bring blessings of prosperity for the new year
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Why is Diwali celebrated?

For Hindus: It is a time to celebrate the Hindu goddess of wealth. They also remember the return of deities to Rama and Sita after their 14 year exile. 

For Sikhs: They celebrate the release of the sixth guru Hargobind Singh from prison in 1619.

For Jains: They remember the moment the founder of Jainism, Lord Mahavira reached eternal bliss.