Diwali: Festival of Lights
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 and light over darkness.
The multi-day Festival of Lights includes fireworks, food, gifts, colored sand, and special clay lamps.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. By clicking through and making a purchase, we receive a small commission at no extra charge to you. All proceeds help support our free global education website. Thank you!
Diwali: Festival of Lights
The Five Days of Diwali
The Diwali festival takes place over five days, but the main celebrations happen on the third day (coinciding with the new moon between mid-October and mid-November).
Mark your calendar: November 4, 2021; October 24, 2022; October 12, 2023; November 1, 2024; October 21, 2025.
Day 1 People go shopping, clean their homes, 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 Books & Activities
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.
Enjoy this fun, informative, and interactive storytime with the author, Ajanta Chakraborty.
Make your own Decorative Diya with these step-by-step directions from Culture Groove.
Diwali Activity Book 50 activities to celebrate Diwali along with Maya, Neel, and their cute little partner, Chintu the squirrel, through Storytime, Dance-along, Crafts, Recipes, Puzzles, Word games, Coloring & More!
My Diwali Coloring Book Coloring fun for all ages, plus a simple read-along narrative.
Learn How to Make Rangoli with illustrated step-by-step directions.
Get inspired with these Easy Rangoli Designs.
Browse Easy Diwali Sweets Recipes.
Our India Profile page includes an infographic, detailed map, photo gallery, video, activities, and more for kids to explore.
Engage young explorers with our India Research Project.
Discover Holi, India’s Festival of Colors.
Learn about Mohandas Gandhi and his impact on the world through a video, books, free curriculum guides, and engaging activities.