Each year the festival of Diwali celebrates the lights triumph over the dark, good over evil. It is a time of joy and generosity steeped in cultural significance and rich history.
What is Diwali?
Diwali is an ancient festival primarily celebrated by Hindus, Jains and Sikhs, but celebrations are becoming more popular and more commonplace in a variety of religious and secular communities. The festival usually takes place over five days and is also called the festival of lights.
Why the festival of lights?
The word Diwali itself means ‘rows of lights’ and refers to the story of Lord Rama and his wife Sita. Sita was coveted by King Ravana, who wished her to be his wife. Ravana kidnapped Sita, who left a trail of her jewellery for Rama to follow so he could rescue her. On his quest, Rama befriended Hanuman, the monkey King, who assisted Rama with his search and recruited other animals to help. Ravana imprisoned Sita on an island, which Rama and Hanuman could not reach. So with the help of the other animals, Rama and Hanuman built a bridge to reach Sita. Once built, Rama crossed the bridge, slayed Ravana and rescued Sita. Ravana was much feared and the news of his death sparked celebrations throughout the land. Rama was a hero and so the people lit oil lamps to guide Rama and Sita home.
How is Diwali celebrated?
Diwali events often include lighting candles, firework displays, rangoli art and the giving of gifts, such as sweets and dried fruit. As a religious occasion, prayers are often made to Lakshmi, who is the Goddess of Wealth. Participants also often buy new clothes and clean their houses and offices in preparation.
Diwali is celebrated around the world, where some celebrations are grand and extravagant, like in Singapore for example, others are not lavish at all and simply includes the exchanging of greetings and sweets, like in Thailand.
From everyone at Discover we wish you a happy Diwali.