Diwali is a festival celebrated every year by millions of people around the world. Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and other religions come together in Autumn for five days to take part in, what is known as, the ‘Festival of Light.’
The festival originated in India and it marks the beginning of the New Year. It’s an official holiday for multiple countries, including India, Fiji, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Singapore.
The five-day celebrations fall on different days every year, because Diwali coincides with the Hindu lunar calendar. Traditionally, it takes place in either October or November, although some people prepare weeks in advance.
Diwali is known as the ‘Festival of Light’ because millions of people light small oil lamps and place them in houses, gardens, on roofs and more. These are called ‘diyas’ and are meant to light the way for the Lakshmi – an Indian god – to enter people’s homes.
Now you’ve heard about what the ‘Festival of Light’ is, below are some great Diwali facts for children to enjoy!
- Diwali isn’t just a festival for Hindus – it’s also celebrated by Sikhs and Jains too.
- More than 800 million people celebrate the festival.
- Diwali means ‘row of lights’ in Sanskrit, which is an ancient Indian language.
- The festival is about light (or good) triumphing over dark (or evil), which is one reason why people light oil lamps.
- Different countries celebrate Diwali differently. For example, people in Bengal celebrate the god Kali.
- As well as lights, people draw colourful patterns on the floor to invite the gods into their homes, which is known as Rangoli.
- In the United Kingdom, the city of Leicester hosts the largest Diwali celebration outside of India.
- Another way they attract Lakshmi is through vibrant fireworks displays.
- People exchange gifts and cook food during the festival.
- The total cost of firecrackers every year amounts to over one billion dollars!