Diwali (also called Deepavali, Dipavali, Dewali, Deepawali, or the Festival of Lights) is the largest and most important celebration in India. The name originates from the row of clay lamps (diya or deepa) that Indians light outside their homes to represent the inner light that protects them from spiritual darkness. Diwali is over 2,500 years old and is mainly celebrated by Hindus, but is also enjoyed by non-Hindu communities too. Diwali takes place over 5 days in either October or November.
Rangoli is the name for decorations used during Diwali.
- Enjoy a time lapse video showing the creation of Rangoli sand art.
- Make it yours! Check out this video with instructions on how to make your own sand.
- Need ideas? Take a look at this video for some fun and easy designs.
Day 1: Dhanteras
Diwali begins on the first day with ‘Dhanteras’, or the worship of wealth. The Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped on this day and there is a custom to purchase something precious. People clean and decorate their homes. Here is a video containing many different stories explaining the origin of Dhanteras.
Day 2: Naraka Chaturdashi or Choti Diwali
The second day is Naraka Chaturdashi or Choti Diwali. People wake up early and apply aromatic oils to themselves before taking a bath. This is said to remove all sins and impurities. They wear new clothes, offer Puja, and enjoy the day by lighting diyas and bursting a few crackers. Take a look at this video of women in Fatehpur Beri village celebrating Choti Diwali.
Day 3: Lakshmi Puja
The third day is the main Diwali festival. Lakshmi Puja is performed on this day. The Goddess Lakshmi is believed to enter homes and bless people with good fortune. Tiny oil diyas, candles, and electric lights are placed around the house. Families exchange gifts and gather together to burst crackers. Check out this budget-friendly Diwali decoration idea.
Day 4: Govardhan Puja or Padva
The fourth day is Govardhan Puja or Padva. It is the day when Lord Krishna defeated Indra by lifting the huge Govardhan Mountain. People make a small hillock, usually of cow dung, symbolizing Govardhan and worship it. Find out more information about this celebration here.
Day 5: Bhai Dooj
The fifth and last day is Bhai Dooj. On this day, sisters invite their brothers for a lavish meal and perform a ‘tilak’ ceremony. Sisters pray for their brothers' long and happy life while the brothers give gifts to their sisters. Looking to prepare your own meal? Check out these six easy Diwali snack recipes.