Diwali, the first day of a five-day Hindu celebration, is a festival of lights. It is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains. The dates vary, depending on the moon cycle. Diwali is observed on 15th day of Kartik, the holiest month in the Hindu lunar calendar. This is what you need to know about Diwali 2017.
Diwali 2017 and beyond
In 2017, Diwali is Oct. 19. In South India, it will be observed a day earlier.
In 2018, Diwali is Nov. 7 and on Oct. 27 the next year.
Diwali day celebrations
On Diwali 2017, houses will be decorated with candles and colorful lights. Fireworks are enjoyed and families share food and gifts, especially sweets. Giving food and other gifts to the needy is encouraged. It is also traditional for homes to be cleaned and new clothes to be worn.
The 5 Diwali festival days
The first day of the festival of lights is known as Dhanteras and is dedicated to celebrating prosperity.
Gold is purchased and the Goddess Lakshmi is welcomed into the home. Ayurvedic doctors also honor Dhanvantari, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu who brought Ayurveda to mankind.
The second day is Naraka Chaturdasi or Chhoti Diwali (small Diwali). According to the Hindu religion, Goddess Kali and Lord Krishna destroyed the demon Narakasura on small Diwali.
The new moon marks the third day, Amavasya, the darkest day of the month and the most important day of the Diwali festival. Lakshmi is worshiped on this day and a special puja (act of worship) takes place in the evening.
In North India, the fourth day Govardhan Puja is the day Lord Krishna defeated Indra, the god of thunder and rain. In other places across India, it is celebrated as the start of a new year or to seek blessings of the demon king Bali.
Bhai Duj is the fifth and final day dedicated to celebrating sisters, much like the celebration of brothers Raksha Bandhan. On Bhai Duj, siblings get together and share food.