Diwali: Festival of Lights

Each year in the fall, an abundance of light and color fills the homes, streets, and communities of those who celebrate Diwali, which stems from the Sanskrit word deepavali—”rows of lighted lamps.” Also known as the “festival of lights,” Diwali is a five-day holiday primarily observed by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and Buddhists. Each group has its own customs for celebrating.

During Diwali, people celebrate the triumph of light, good, and knowledge over darkness, evil, and ignorance. Since Diwali marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year, it is often associated with new beginnings in life. Common customs for Diwali include:

  • Lighting clay oil lamps called diyas.
  • Creating rangolis—colorful art patterns drawn on floor entrances—to welcome guests and Lakshmi, goddess of prosperity.
  • Visiting family and friends.
  • Having feasts and giving gifts.
  • Setting off fireworks.

To all who are celebrating this week, we wish you an abundance of light, joy, and prosperity!

Setting off fireworks, creating rangolis, and lighting diyas are common customs on Diwali.