What is Diwali, when is it celebrated and what do people do?


much year round October and November the sky across the UK can be seen filled with fireworks as the festivities take place.

Diwali is a five-day “Festival of Lights” and a celebration of the triumph of good over evil, and it begins this week.

Here is an explanation of why it is celebrated and what takes place:

Fireworks can usually be seen in the sky during the festival (Yui Mok / PA) / PA Archive

– When is it celebrated?

The festival usually takes place between October and November, with the date changing every year.

This year it takes place between the 2.-6. November, with the festival’s most important day falling on 4 November.

– Who celebrates it and why?

Diwali, native to India, is celebrated all over the world by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains, but for different reasons.

Hindus celebrate Lord Rama’s return – an avatar of the Hindu supreme god Lord Vishnu – with his wife and brother to the kingdom of Ayodhya after a 14-year exile.

The streets and towns were lit with Diwas (candles) to welcome them home.

It is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains (Victoria Jones / PA) / PA Archive

In South India, Diwali is the day when the demon Narakasura was defeated by Sri Krishna and Satyabhama.

To others, Diwali is dedicated to the goddess Lakshmi, who is believed to bring wealth and prosperity.

In many households, the celebrations include a puja (worship) of the goddess to pray for health and happiness.

Sikhs, meanwhile, are celebrating the release from prison of the sixth guru Hargobind Singh in 1619.

The Jains celebrate Diwali as Lord Mahavira, the last Jain Tirthankaras, achieved Nirvana.

According to the British Sikh Association, Diwali celebrations in British cities have probably become the largest outside India.


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