When is Diwali 2017?
The date of the festival is calculated according to the position of the moon and the Hindu lunar calendar and is usually in October or November.
This means the date of Diwali changes each year and in 2017 the main date will be held on Thursday, October 19.
The night before of Diwali is known as Narak Chaturdasi, and represents the day in which the Hindu demon Narakaasura died.
Celebrations continue for five days and on the last day, Bhaiyadooj or Feast to brothers takes place.
The day commemorates the bond between siblings with meals being hosted by sisters in honour of their brothers.
Diwali is observed by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains around the world and is often celebrated by street parties and fireworks.
The word itself means ‘series of lights’ and during the festival houses and shops are decorated with candles and lights
Why is Diwali celebrated by Hindus?
The five-day festival, which coincides with Hindu New Year, is seen to be one of the most significant in the Indian culture.
Many people celebrate the legend of Hindu God Rama and his wife Sita’s returning to their kingdom in northern India after being exiled following the defeat of demon king Ravanna.
The word itself means “series of lights” and during the festival houses and shops are decorated with candles and lights.
This is meant to represent light over darkness and the Hindu belief that good will always triumph over evil.
For many Indians, Diwali honours Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and people will start the new business year at Diwali and some will say prayers to the goddess for a prosperous year ahead.
Diwali is marked by huge firework displays, which recall the celebrations believed to have taken place upon Rama’s return
What is the festival of light all about?
Diwali is marked by huge firework displays, which are supposed to reflect the celebrations of Lord Rama’s return.
Traditional earthen diyas or candles are lit, and houses are decorated with colourful rangoli artworks – patterns created on the floor using coloured rice or powder.
During the festival, families and friends share sweets and gifts and there is also a strong belief in giving to those in need. It is also traditional for homes to be cleaned and new clothes to be worn.
Indian sweets which come in a range of colours and flavours are also eaten during the celebrations, as well as various rich savoury and sweet dishes.