Diwali - "The Festival of Light"
Diwali is the 5 day festival of lights, celebrated by millions across the world. It marks a time when households across the country decorate their homes with lit diyas or little clay lamps. The lights of Diwali are symbolic of the triumph of good over evil.
This recollects the story of Ramayan, which details how the Hindu God Rama returned to his kingdom with his wife, Sita and brother Lackchman after years of exile. The clay lights signify an illuminated path for them to return in order to guide them home. Diwali also coincides with the Sikh celebration of Bandi Chhor Divas, a religious holiday that commemorates the release of Guru Hargobind Ji from the Gwalior Fort in India in the 17th century. For Sikhs, this signifies “the day of liberation”, a day of freedom.
As well as being a night full of songs, dance and fireworks, Diwali is marked by another much welcome tradition – gifting and enjoying mithai (sweets). Friends, family and neighbours often exchange boxes of colourful delicacies usually consisting of classic Indian sweets such as ladoos, barfis, pedas and jalebis. Diwali celebrations span across the globe and are observed by Hindus and non-Hindus alike. In addition to India, the festival is an official holiday in Fiji, Guyana, Pakistan, Malaysia, Nepal, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Trinidad and Tobago. The city of Leicester in the UK is said to host the world’s biggest Diwali celebrations outside of India.