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Diwali, short for Deepawali, is one of the most popular celebrations in India. The word translates to “row of lights” in Sanskrit and celebrates the victory of good over evil, light over darkness.

The multi-day “Festival of Lights” includes fireworks, food, gifts, colored sand, and special clay lamps.

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The Five Days of Diwali  The Diwali festival takes place over a five-day period, but the main celebrations happen on the third day (coinciding with the new moon between mid-October and mid-November). Mark your calendar: November 7, 2018; October 27, 2019; November 14, 2020.

Day 1  People go shopping, clean their home, and decorate with fresh flowers.

Day 2  Homes are decorated with diyas (small oil lamps) and rangoli are created on the floor at the entrance to the home. The decorative patterns are made using colored rice, flour, powder or sand. Sweets are prepared.

Day 3  This is the main day of the festival. Families gather for Lakshmi Puja – a prayer to Goddess Lakshmi (the goddess of wealth). They pray to be blessed with good fortune for the upcoming year. Offerings may include fruit, rice pudding, flowers, or other gifts. Fireworks and a large feast end the night.

Day 4  This is the first day of the new year. Friends and family visit with gifts and sweets.

Day 5  This day celebrates the relationship between a brother and sister. Siblings spend time together, pray, exchange gifts, and enjoy a meal.

Diwali is a national holiday in India, Trinidad & Tobago, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Guyana, Surinam, Singapore, Malaysia and Fiji.

Diwali Information, Activities & Books

Diwali Books

Diwali (Celebrate the World)  This is a board book, but the text is appropriate for elementary grades. Beautiful illustrations!

Let’s Celebrate 5 Days of Diwali! Learn about the traditions of the festival, and lots more, in Book 1 of Maya & Neel’s India Adventure Series.

My Diwali Coloring Book  Coloring fun for all ages, plus a simple read-along narrative.


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