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DIWALI

Five-day festival of lights celebrated in India.Celebrated in the month of October or November.Marks the start of the Hindu New Year.Biggest and most important Hindu festival.

WHAT ISDIWALI?

Celebrated each year in India and around the world by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists.As important to Hindus as Christmas is to Christians.Symbolizes the victory of light over darkness, or good over evil.

WHAT ISDIWALI?

Many lights and oil lamps are lit on the streets and in houses.People visit their relatives and have feasts.Fireworks and festivities are an essential part of the occasion.Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth, is worshipped as the bringer of blessings for the new year.

TRADITIONS

Each region has its favourite dishes and there’s no set evening menu.Savoury snacks could include samosas, bhajis, aloo tikki and channa bhatura (spiced chickpeas and puffed bread).The main meal may feature meaty curries, such as tikka masala, or a feast of vegetarian Indian dishes, including dhals and pulses.

FOOD

But it’s sweetmeats (‘mithai’) that are the stars of Diwali. They’re made with dairy produce, which has religious significance, and offered to both gods and guests.

FOOD

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Diwali is celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and Newar Buddhists, although for each faith it marks different historical events and stories, but nonetheless the festival represents the same symbolic victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, and good over evil.

RELIGIOUS SIGNIFICANCE

Hindus celebrate the return of deities Rama and Sita to Ayodhya after their 14-year exile.Sikhs particularly celebrate the release from prison of the sixth guru Hargobind Singh in 1619.Jains celebrate the moment their found Lord Mahavira reached a state called Moksha (nirvana, or eternal bliss).

THE FIVE DAYS OF DIWALI

People clean their homes and shop for gold

DAY 1

People decorate their homes

DAY 2

Families gather together and pray to Goddess Lakshmi

DAY 3

Friends and relatives visit with gifts

DAY 4

Brothers visit their married sisters

DAY 5

People decorate their homes with lights, clay lamps and create design patterns called rangoli on the floor usingcolouredpowders or sand.

People clean their homes and shop for gold or kitchen utensils to help bring good fortune.

Brothers visit their married sisters, who welcome them with a lavish meal.

This is the first day of the new year, when friends and relatives visit with gifts and best wishes for the season.

On the main day of the festival, families gather together for Lakshmi puja, a prayer to Goddess Lakshmi, followed by mouth-watering feasts and firework festivities.

People decorate their houses with flowers to mark the festive spirit.

People create design patterns called rangoli on the floor usingcolouredpowders or sand.

Small clay lamps (diyas) are lit to celebrate the festival of light. Theysymbolise the victory of good over evil.

A special plate is prepared with a lit lamp, flowers, and sweets. This is offered in worship to the gods and goddesses.

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