The Festival of Lights

This is a Diwali design that people in India make to celebrate the holiday.

Suhani Bhanvadia

This is a Diwali design that people in India make to celebrate the holiday.

Suhani Bhanvadia, Photojournalist

Diwali, the festival of lights, is celebrated all over India and by Hindus all around the world just as Christmas is celebrated among Christians. It’s an annual celebration that takes place for about five days in October or November. 


Not only Hindus celebrate Diwali. It has also been adopted by Sikhs and Jains. However, Hindu traditions tend to be the most typical of the holiday. There are many ways to celebrate the holiday because of the multiple regions and cultures within India. The festival is celebrated among most Indians regardless of faith. Although it is celebrated so widely and in so many different ways,


Hindus believe in many incarnations of a single deity and their individual stories. The celebration of Diwali honors Rama-chandra, the seventh incarnation of the god Vishnu. They say that after fourteen years of battle against Ravana (a demon-king), Rama returned on the day of Diwali. The day symbolizes the victory of good over evil.


To celebrate Diwali, people decorate their homes, offices, and/or temples with diyas (candles) and rangoli designs which are made on the floor. Rangoli designs are usually made of colored powders, rice, or petals. They are often placed at the entrance of people’s homes to create happy and positive atmospheres. 


Diwali is celebrated over five days. These days are characterized by numerous rituals, preparations, and celebrations. Day 1 of Diwali (Dhan Teras) consists of cleaning and shopping in preparation for the subsequent days. People buy gold, utensils, new clothes, etc. Kids may light fireworks and/or firecrackers in the evening. Day 2 (Narak Chaturdashi) allows people to take baths and rest before the big celebrations. Traditionally, people shouldn’t leave the house. However, modern celebrations consist of people visiting family and friends to exchange gifts and sweets. 


Day 3 (Diwali) is the day of full celebration. People light diyas, fireworks, and celebrate. They visit family and go to temples to light candles and exchange sweets. Day 4 (Bestu Baras) is celebrated as the new year begins. Different regions within India have different traditions. On Day 5 (Bhai Dooj), brothers visit their sisters and will be prepared sweets wishing for a good life.


Diwali is not only a day to worship religious figures, it is also a time to spend time with loved ones and enjoy being in their company. Regardless of faith, people can celebrate the holiday all over the world. It is a holiday of pure happiness and brings joy to all people.