Diwali: The Hindu Festival of Lights

Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, is one of the most popular festivals of Hinduism. It celebrates new beginnings, and signifies the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and hope over despair. Millions of lights shine on housetops, outside doors and windows, around temples and other buildings.  The preparation and celebration typically take place over a five-day period, but the main festival night of Diwali coincides with the new moon between mid-October and mid-November.

Diwali: The Hindu Festival of Lights

The Five Days of Diwali

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.



indian sweets

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.

Go Further

National Geographic Video

Rangoli Designs

Print a Rangoli Pattern. Decorate it using pastel crayons, colored rice, sand, or glitter salt.  Design a rangoli on the porch, driveway, or playground with colored chalk.

Easy Diwali Sweets Recipes

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