Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs all over the world celebrate this holiday, each based on their own traditions. Sometimes likened to a “Hindu Christmas” rolled up with a New Year celebration, most scholars believe it originated as a post-harvest festival.
In contemporary times, people celebrate Diwali all over the world, wherever Hindus, Jains, or Sikhs have dispersed. It is an important through Southeast Asia, notably Thailand. The “epicenter,” however, remains India.
The wide spread of the festival is notable, however. The Mayor of London last year called for it to be made an official national holiday, along with Eid. Click here for his clarion call to embrace diversity.
Despite differing traditions and sometimes slightly different dates, there are several important elements in any Diwali celebration. For me, that’s a happy thought for Diwali!
The name “Diwali” actually means “a row of lights.” This is a celebration of light/goodness in triumph over darkness/evil.
Create Rangoli by drawing the design first in chalk, then filling in the centers of the shapes with colored rice, sand, or something similar. This is an amazing creative art form that all kinds of people create. Here are some designs, but if you look online there’s no limit.
Food is another essential ingredient for the holiday–especially snacks and sweets. Recipes abound, and the variety is endless. But breaking bread together is a universal value, and an essential part of having a happy Diwali.
No matter how or where you celebrate, I hope you have a happy and prosperous Diwali.
IMAGE CREDITS: Many thanks to Amonwipu Injad, via 123RF, for the beautiful “Happy Diwali” greeting graphic. I deeply appreciate the video from National Geographic, via YouTube. Many thanks to the Express UK, for the images in the “lights” montage: of the fireworks, diyas on the rangoli, and the overview of diyas, via Getty Images, and also for the lanterns in lower right. The rangoli are from (upper left): Deepika Pant, via YouTube, and Express UK (for all the others). The montage of Diwali food is from the Food Network UK. Many thanks to all!