Even in the difficult times of the coronavirus pandemic, Diwali has always been celebrated around the world, even in socially distant ways. Diwali is celebrated annually and takes place over five days each November.
What is Diwali?
Diwali is a five day festival of lights and is celebrated by millions of people around the world.
The name is derived from the Sanskrit term dipavali, which means “row of lights”.
The festival celebrates new beginnings and the triumph of light over darkness and good over evil.
When is Diwali?
This year Diwali begins on November 12 and lasts for five days, with the main day of celebrations taking place on Saturday, November 14.
Each day of the festival celebrates something different, including the bond between siblings, the new year and the gods.
This year, celebrations have been curbed or even canceled due to the pandemic, especially in severely affected areas like India.
Sikhs celebrate Hargobind Singh’s release from prison in 1619, but have also celebrated the festival before that date.
The founder of Jainism is Lord Mahavira, and during Diwali, Jains celebrate when he has reached a state called Moksha (nirvana, or Eternal Bliss).
Although not a main festival of Buddhism, Diwali is celebrated by some Buddhists.
It is used as a commemoration of the day when Emperor Ashoka converted to Buddhism in the 3rd century BCE.
What are the diwali traditions?
Lights and oil lamps are often lit in streets and homes to represent the triumph of light over darkness.
Another traditional part of Diwali is rangoli art, where intricate patterns are created on the floor using colored powder, flower petals, or other materials.
Visiting loved ones and throwing parties is also a big part of the celebrations, but is toned down this year thanks to COVID-19 restrictions.
Fireworks are also an important part of the celebrations.
Gambling, especially in the form of card games, is encouraged as a means of ensuring good luck in the coming year.