The festival of Diwali is being celebrated by millions of Hindus, Sikhs and Jains across the globe. It is one of the most significant festivals in Indian culture and is celebrated every autumn with great joy and enthusiasm.
Diwali which translates to festival of lights is one of the most colourful and sacred celebrations in the Hindu culture. It symbolises new beginnings and the belief that good will always triumph over evil – light over darkness.
The festival of Diwali marks the happy return in the 15th century BC of Lord Rama and his wife Sita to their kingdom Ayodhya in northern India after fourteen years of exile. Diwali is also associated with the beginning of the financial year in India.
The festival date changes each year but usually falls between the middle of October and the middle of November. It is calculated according to the position of the moon and the Hindu lunar calendar.
In 2017 the main date will be held on Thursday 19th October.
How Diwali is Celebrated
Diwali is marked by huge firework displays and street parties. These reflect the celebrations of Lord Rama’s return as locals set off their version of fireworks.
At night time, buildings are illuminated with earthen lamps, bulbs, and candles; while the night sky is lit up in an array of colour. Sweet shops are tastefully decorated to attract passers-by from the overcrowded streets.
During the festival, people put on their best clothes, and families and friends feast and share gifts and sweets with one another. It is also a time of giving to those in need. It is traditional for homes to be cleaned and decorated with candles, colourful lights, and rangoli artworks (patterns created on the floor using coloured rice or powder).
The food mainly consumed during the festival are Indian sweets which come in all sorts of different flavours and colours. Families will also eat a variety of rich savoury and sweet dishes, both at home and out.
Celebration in the UK
Celebrations will be taking place all across the UK this week, although the biggest ones are being held in Leicester and London.
London’s festival of lights celebration with live stage performances and cultural activities is being held at the annual free public event in Trafalgar Square.
For the biggest and best Diwali celebrations outside of India, look no further than Leicester.
The Golden Mile, in the heart of the city’s Asian community, is where the main action takes place each year. Belgrave road will be transformed into a sea of light and colour with over 6,000 lights twinkling against the night sky.
This is a street party like no other – immerse yourself in the tempting and exotic aromas of Indian feasts that fill the air from some of the country’s finest Indian restaurants; Browse the shops selling colourful fashion and gold jewellery; enjoy a night of Bollywood dances and music performances; and gaze at the spectacular explosion of fireworks.
Come and join us and the forty thousand plus other visitors to this one-of-a-kind experience.