Diwali 2024

31 October 2024
All States    Regional holiday

Diwali is the most widely celebrated Hindu festival. It is also known as Deepavali and gets its name from Diya which means lights and avali which means row. Diwali is the festival of lights when people light rows od Diyas. Different parts of India celebrate Diwali for different reasons, North India celebrates it to mark the return of Lord Rama, Sita and Laxman to Ayodhya after fourteen years of exile. Southern India celebrates it as the day that Lord Krishna defeated the demon Narakasura. In western India, this day marks the day that Lord Vishnu sent King Bali to rule the nether world.

Hence, there are many folktales and legends attached to this auspicious day. It is a five-day festival and is also a national holiday in India. During the festival, small earthen lamps filled with oil are lit and placed in rows along the walls of temples and houses and set adrift on rivers and streams. The fourth day is the main Diwali festival day and the beginning of the lunar month of Karttika mark the beginning of the new year according to the Vikrama calendar. Merchants perform traditional worship and ceremonies and open new account books. It is generally a time for visiting friends and family, exchanging gifts, cleaning and decorating houses, feasting, setting off fireworks displays, and wearing new clothes.

Diwali is not just celebrated by Hindu but is also an important festival in Jainism. For the Jain community, the festival marks the passing of Mahavira into salvation, the most recent of the Jain Tirthankaras. The lighting of the lamps is explained as a material substitute for the light of holy knowledge that was extinguished with Mahaviras salvation. Hence, Diwali is celebrated by the whole population of India irrespective of caste, creed, religion and class.