Have you heard of Diwali but have no idea what it is? Perhaps you’ve got a friend who celebrates this festival and you want to learn more? At thortful we’re all about celebrations, so we’re here to help you learn more about one of the most important religious festivals in the world and how to celebrate Diwali.
What is Diwali?
Diwali, sometimes referred to as the Festival of Lights, is a major religious festival celebrated across the world. The festival gets its name from the fact that lights play such an important role. On Diwali, expect to see houses being decorated with twinkly lights, fireworks being set off, and the lighting of oil lamps. In fact, the word Diwali means ‘rows of lighted lamps’.
Diwali signifies the beginning of the new year and is all about the idea of the triumph of good over evil. But who celebrates Diwali? This festival is observed by millions and millions of Hindus, Sikhs and Jains every year.
When is Diwali 2022?
Okay, okay, so now you know about what Diwali is and who partakes in this epic festival – but when is Diwali?
While Diwali often refers to a five-day festival, Diwali is celebrated on the third day – so this year, Diwali will be celebrated on Monday 24th October 2022.
The date of Diwali changes every year because it is based on the Hindu lunar calendar – a bit like Easter in Christianity. Usually, it falls in either October or November as it’s observed on the 15th day of Kartik, the Hindu lunisolar month.
H2: How to celebrate Diwali
Diwali is celebrated over the span of five days with each day having its own special significance and traditions. Of course, the names and what happens on each of these days can vary regionally, but below is an idea of what each day might involve:
On the first day, Diwali usually begins with a good deep clean of the house so that everything is super neat and tidy. This day is dedicated to the Goddess Lakshmi and people often purchase something valuable such as jewellery as well as people making sure their homes are well-decorated too.
Sometimes referred to as ‘Chhoti Diwali’ or ‘small Diwali’, the second day is when people start preparing for the big celebrations. Clay lamps, known as diyas, are lit and people pray for the souls of their ancestors.
While Diwali is celebrated for five days, the third day is the most important as families get together to visit the temple, watch fireworks, light all the lights and diyas, play games, and enjoy all the tasty food.
Celebrated on the fourth day of Diwali is Annakut, which means mountain of food, although there are other names for this day too. This day is a time to share important religious and cultural values with the younger generations and also about showing gratitude by making food offerings to Lord Krishna.
To mark the end of Diwali celebrations on the fifth and final day of Diwali, the bond between brothers and sisters is celebrated with sisters praying for the well-being of their brothers, as well as receiving sweets and gifts in return.
What to do on Diwali
There are all sorts of ways to celebrate Diwali, each household potentially having their own traditions, here are a few ideas on how you can celebrate Diwali this year:
Spend quality time with loved ones
Diwali is better celebrated with others – so why not spend some proper quality time with loved ones? Whether you get together to watch the fireworks or go on a family shopping trip, it’s all about being with others.
Make some typical Diwali foods
Of course, one of the best parts about Diwali is the yummy food. If you’re wanting something fun to do together as a family and are particularly big foodies, then why not get everyone in the kitchen? You can find all sorts of traditional Diwali recipes on the BBC Good Food website.
Release some lanterns
Given that it’s the festival of lights, it’s only appropriate to release some Diwali lanterns to brighten up the sky. And if you’re super crafty you could even go ahead and create your very own paper lanterns to light, plus it’s a super fun activity for everyone to get involved with.
Never heard of rangoli before? Rangoli is a type of colourful art which people create on the floor of their home during Diwali as it is seen as a welcoming gesture to the gods.
Five fun Diwali facts
- The first celebration of Diwali was more than 2,500 years ago.
- Other than India, Leicester in the UK has one of the biggest Diwali celebrations beginning on their ‘Golden Mile’ including a famous light switch-on, fireworks, dance, and much more.
- Diwali occurs on an ‘amavasya’ which means moonless night and means that you can properly admire the fireworks and lights in the sky.
- There are all sorts of traditional sweet treats for Diwali including sheera, a traditional Indian dessert made of semolina, and gulab jamun, fried dough balls soaked in an aromatic syrup.
- Prior to the 1900s, fireworks were only really used by the royals when celebrating Diwali.
And for anyone celebrating this religious holiday, whether that’s you or someone else you know, make sure to wish them a happy birthday and check out our amazing selection of Diwali cards. Our cards all feature unique and beautiful designs lovingly created by our talented team of illustrators.
Or if you’re looking for more fun reads like this one then you should definitely head on over to the rest of the thortful blog. There you can find all sorts including special occasion articles, gift ideas, and how to guides.