Diwali First Frame

The five days of Diwali

Five days of Diwali

Let there be light!

The aroma of incense fills the streets, joyous shouts ring out and fireworks erupt in the sky. During Diwali, the festival of light, all darkness is driven from India and every corner of the country is illuminated. 

Join the party
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India covered in lights

Joy, happiness and light: that is the essence of the Diwali festival. Millions of Hindus around the world commemorate this event but the biggest celebration is in India. Diwali means ‘row of lamps’ and during the festival everyone places a deepa (clay lantern) outside their house and shop. These lanterns symbolize the inner light that protects against spiritual darkness. Diwali is one of the most important Hindu celebrations. It's definitely worth planning your trip to India to coincide with this event.

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Right above: Pacific Press / Contributor
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Soumen Nath Photography

“Diwali symbolizes the Hindu belief that good always conquers evil” 

A five-day celebration

The exact date of the celebration is determined by the position of the moon in the Hindu lunar calendar. That is why the date of Diwali varies each year but it always falls somewhere between mid-October and mid-December. 

Diwali is composed of five days, each with its own story. Day one is the beginning of the Diwali festival and represents richness and wealth. Buying something made of gold or silver on this day is a symbol of good luck. Day two is a day of rest. According to legend, this is the day when the god Krishna destroyed the demon Narakasura, freeing the world of fear. The third day is the actual Diwali celebration, marked by the festival of lights. The fourth day is a celebration of the crowning of King Vikramaditya, and day five centres around the love between brothers and sisters. 

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Where to go?

Diwali celebrates fellowship and family, so for the most authentic experience we recommend staying with an Indian family, for example in a homestay. But there is also plenty to experience outside of the house. 

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João Almeida / Alamy Stock Photo
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Jaipur

In the ‘pink city’ of Jaipur, locals not only adorn the buildings with lights but also the market squares. Every year there is a prize for the most beautifully illuminated market square. The government pays the electricity bill so people don't skimp on lights. The city is transformed into a spectacular light display. People from all over India travel to Jaipur to admire this magical sight.

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Left: Tim Gainey / Alamy Stock Photo - Right: Soumya Shankar Ghosal
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Simon Reddy / Alamy Stock Photo
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Pietro Scòzzari / Alamy Stock Photo
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Goa

In the Indian state of Goa, the Diwali celebrations emphasise the destruction of the demon Narakasura by the god Krishna. In every city and village locals compete to build the largest demon, with some compelling results. The puppets are often metres high. On the morning of the second day, the ritual burning of the puppets takes place. 

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Simon Reddy / Alamy Stock Photo
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    NurPhoto / Contributor

Varanasi

In the daytime, locals flock to the many street markets to buy traditional Diwali sweets and colourful clothing. It's tradition to put on new clothing for the Diwali festival, so you have the perfect excuse to buy a gorgeous Indian sari.

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Subir Basak
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