Diwali, or Dipawali, is India’s biggest and most important holiday of the year. The festival gets its name from the row(avali) of clay lamps (deepa) that Indians light outside their homes to symbolize the inner light that protects from spiritual darkness. This festival is as important to Hindus as the Christmas holiday is to Christians. 


This Indian festival, one of the most widely celebrated and anticipated, is an occasion that sumptuously overwhelms the senses with its glowing lights, sparkling fireworks, deeply resonant rituals and delectable sweet preparations, all drawn into the magic circle of community celebrations marked by warmth, goodwill and the all powerful obeisance to the triumph of good over evil.


  • On the first day of Diwali, people consider it auspicious to spring clean the home and shop for gold or kitchen utensils.
  • On the second day, people decorate their homes with clay lamps and create design patterns called rangoli on the floor using colored powders or sand.
  • The third day is the main day of the festival when families gather together for Lakshmi puja, a prayer to Goddess Lakshmi followed by mouth-watering feasts and firework festivities.

    • The fourth day is the first day of the new year when friends and relatives visit with gifts.
    On the last day of Diwali, brothers visit their married sisters who welcome them with love and a lavish meaL

How is the Festival of Lights celebrated?

Day one of the celebrations is known as Dhanteras, marking the beginning of the festival.

Often on the day of Dhanteras, homes are cleaned, new items such as plants or lights bought and prayers offered.

Naraka Chaturdashi is the second day and is one which sees Hindus wake before sunrise to apply holy oils to their bodies.

Diwali falls on the third day and is a time when feasts are shared, gifts exchanged and a prayer ritual known as puja undertaken.

The fourth day, Govardhan Puja, Hindus light oil lamps and offer vegetarian food to Lord Krishna either in temples or at sacred shrines in their own homes.

The final day, Bhai Dooj is also known as Bhai Tika, Bhai Phonta, Bhai Bij and Bhatru Dviteeya.





On this day the bond between brothers and sisters is celebrated with sisters often inviting brothers to their homes for a large meal.

For those who cannot visit with their siblings or have none – prayers are said to the moon.

It is because of this that Hindu parents often refer to the moon as Chandamama – Chanda means moon and mama means mother’s brother.1


Clean your house on or before the first day of Diwali. Diwali is the Hindu New Year, and it’s a celebration of new beginnings. It’s traditional to clean up your home and business on or before the first day of Diwali as a kind of cleansing ritual, preparing yourself for a fresh new start.
Draw footprints to scatter through your home on the first day. The first day of Diwali, Dhanteras, is a day to celebrate Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. A traditional way of awaiting her arrival is to trace small footprints throughout your house. 
Shop for new clothes, jewelry, and utensils. Another tradition at the beginning of Diwali is to go shopping for new clothes and household items, like kitchen utensils and decorations.

  • For example, you could buy a few new shirts or pants, a nice set of plates or utensils, or some jewelry.
Decorate your home and doorways with rangoli on the second day

  • You can also paint or draw your rangoli designs on paper or wood, or even buy them pre-made.

Tip: Make your rangoli designs even more festive by placing stones, mirrors, or beads around or inside of them.

Light diyas and candles around your home, especially in the doorways.

  • Diwali is the Festival of Lights, place candles and diyas in other places around your home as well!
Hang string lights around your home to make it bright and festive. To celebrate the Festival of Lights, make your whole home bright! Hang string lights throughout your house, lining them along the walls and intertwining them through tables and mantels.

  • You can hang plain white lights or go with colorful strings.