1. Diwali is a Hindu Festival often called The Festival of Lights
Diwali originated in India but now is celebrated across the world. It lasts 5 days and people light lamps and set off fireworks to celebrate.
2. People often think of Diwali as a Hindu festival, but it is also celebrated by Sikhs and Jains.
For the Sikhs, Diwali celebrates the victory of the sixth guru, Guru Hargobind, from Emperor Jahangir, who had imprisoned him.
For Jains it marks the anniversary of Nirvana or liberation of Mahavira’s soul, the twenty fourth and last Jain Tirthankara.
3. Diwali falls in the hindu calendar month of Karthik
It marks the start of the Hindu New Year. The exact dates change each year and are determined by the position of the moon but it is usually either in October or November.
4. Diwali celebrates the return of Rama and Sita after defeating the evil King Ravana
Hindus in northern India celebrate Rama and Sita defeating the evil King Ravana. In different parts of India the story can be slightly different but they normally include Rama and Sita.
5. Diwali also celebrates the birth of Lakshmi
It is believed that Lakshmi, the goddess of Wealth and prosperity, was born out of the great churning of the milk sea on Diwali. Lights and lamps, lit during Diwali, are said to help Lakshmi find her way into homes so she can bring people wealth and good luck.
6. Annakut is celebrated on the fourth day of Diwali
Annakut is celebrated on the 4th Day of Diwali and is the 1st day of the new year in the Hindu calendar. It is a day of offering gratitude for Krishna, a Hindu God.
7. Different countries have different Diwali beleifs
In the region of Bengal people worship the goddess Kali, the destroyer of evil forces. In Nepal people celebrate Krishna’s victory over the evil king Narakaasura.
8. The word Diwali means row of lights
In Sanskrit, which is an ancient language from India, Diwali can be translated as row of lights.
9. Rangoli is a popular Diwali tradition where patterns are made from colourful powders and flowers.
People draw rangoli on the floor by the entrance of their homes to welcome the gods and goddesses and bring good luck!
10. Leicester holds the largest Diwali celebrations outside of India.
Every year in Leicester tens of thousands of people gather in the streets to see fireworks, music and dancing.