Interesting Facts About Diwali: The Festival Of Lights

Happy Diwali

Happy Diwali

When it comes to winter holidays, most of the people think of Christmas and Halloween; however, for Hindus, there is another winter holiday that cannot be missed- Diwali. Popularly known as the Festival of Lights, Diwali has many interesting facts worth knowing.
The Hindu holiday of Diwali is India’s biggest and brightest national holiday. But Indians around the world come together to celebrate the festival of lights. Diwali or Deepavali is the Hindu festival of lights celebrated every year in autumn in the northern hemisphere (spring in the southern hemisphere). It is an official holiday in Fiji, Guyana, India, Malaysia, Mauritius, Myanmar, Nepal, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago. One of the most popular festivals of Hinduism, it spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair. Its celebration includes millions of lights shining on housetops, outside doors and windows, around temples and other buildings in the communities and countries where it is observed. The festival preparations and rituals typically extend over a five-day period, but the main festival night of Diwali coincides with the dark night of the Hindu Lunisolar month Kartika in Bikram Sambat calendar (the month of Aippasi in Tamil Calendar), on the 15th of the month. In the Gregorian calendar, Diwali night falls between mid-October and mid-November.
Before Diwali night, people clean, renovate, and decorate their homes and offices. On Diwali night, people dress up in new clothes or their best outfits, light up diyas (lamps and candles) inside and outside their home, participate in family puja (prayers) typically to Lakshmi – the goddess of fertility and prosperity. After the puja, fireworks follow, then a family feast including mithai (sweets), and an exchange of gifts between family members and close friends. Diwali also marks a major shopping period in nations where it is celebrated.
The five-day celebration of good over evil is as important to Hindus as Christmas is to Christians, and it marks the start of a new financial year for Indian businesses worldwide. But how much do you know about this global holiday? Below are FIVE interesting facts and stats to help you improve your Diwali literacy.
1. People spend a lot of time getting ready. Families spend days cleaning and decorate their homes in preparation for Diwali. They also shop for new clothes and outfits to wear to celebrations. Unsurprisingly, there are a lot of ways to go about this, from arts and crafts to makeup tricks to help you “shimmer, shine, and sparkle.”
2. In Australia, Diwali is celebrated publicly among the people of Indian origin and the local Australians in Brisbane and Melbourne. Diwali at Federation Square has been embraced warmly by the mainstream Victorian population beginning in 2006. The event has now become a part of the Melbourne Arts calendar and is celebrated over a week in the city.
3. Although, Diwali is a festival of lights, however, colors also play a significant role on this day. Making Rangolis is also an integral part of Diwali celebration. Rangoli making is a timeless tradition in India, and it is meant that people make colorful Rangolis at the entrance of their homes to attract the goddess of wealth- Lakshmi.
4. Diwali was not a public holiday in Pakistan from 1947 to 2016. Diwali along with Holi for Hindus and Easter for Christians was adopted as public holiday resolution by Pakistan’s parliament in 2016, giving the local governments and public institutions the right to declare Holi as a holiday and grant leave for its minority communities, for the first time. Diwali celebrations have been relatively rare in contemporary Pakistan, but observed across religious lines, including by Muslims in cities such as Peshawar.
5. Diwali was first celebrated in the White House by George W. Bush in 2003 and was given official status by the United States Congress in 2007. Barack Obama became the first president to attend Diwali at the White House in 2009 personally. On the eve of his first visit to India as the president of United States, Obama released an official statement sharing best wishes with “those celebrating Diwali”.

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