Tips & Advice
What is the Festival of Light?
Diwali brightens up the dark Autumn nights
This year Diwali the Festival of Lights will start on Tuesday 6 November and will continue for five days until Saturday, the 10 November.
The festival is the largest and most famous holiday in India and is celebrated by many Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains across the world. It's a celebration of light over darkness and involves prayers, feasting, gifts and most importantly the lighting of lamps to welcome Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth, into people's homes.
Rituals and preparations for Diwali begin weeks in advance and include the cleaning of homes and buying new clothes and decorative items for the home, to represent new beginnings.
While preparations vary from country to country, the order and rituals usually go something like this...
- Day 1
Traditionally, at sunset, children light crackers, while adults light earthen lamps to mark the beginning of the festivities, and pray to Yama Raj, the Lord of Death for protection, and to chase away the shadows of evil spirits. The day also involves buying gold, silver, precious stones, new clothes and utensils, which the few weeks of spring cleaning beforehand has made room for.
- Day 2
Special bathing rituals are done on this day. Oils should be used to massage the body to relieve it of tiredness and people bathe and rest so that Diwali can be celebrated with strength and devotion.
- Day 3
People wear their best outfits, and lamps (diyas) are lit to invite Lakshmi into people's homes. The mother of the family is seen to embody the goddess, representing good fortune for the household. Gifts are exchanged and fireworks are lit to chase away evil spirits, and then - a feast.
- Day 4
This day celebrates the devotion between husband and wife - much like anniversaries. On this day men give their wives thoughtful or elaborate gifts.
- Day 5
Emphasises the love and lifelong bond of siblings and involves more food sharing and gift giving as the festival draws to a close.
If you fancy celebrating in true Diwali style why not spend a few days cleaning out your room? OR, you could always throw a Diwali-inspired feast and share the love - but if you plan on using candles in halls, just make sure they are LED ones!
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