Diwali 2017: Festival of light celebrations around the world

Hindus, Sikhs and Jains celebrate triumph of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance and hope over despair

Lucy Pasha-Robinson
Thursday 19 October 2017 11:15
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Millions of people have flocked to firework displays, prayers and events to mark the start of Diwali, the annual festival of light celebrated every autumn around the world.

The festival sees Hindus, Sikhs and Jains celebrate the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance and hope over despair.

The date of Diwali changes each year in accordance with the Hindu lunar calendar.

It lasts five days in total, with the festival of lights falling on the third day of celebrations, which arrives on the 15th day of the Hindu month of Kartik.

This year, that falls on 19 October.

Also known as Deepavali, a Sanskrit word meaning “rows of lighted lamps”, it is one of the most popular festivals celebrated across South Asia.

It sees millions of earthenware oil lamps, called diyas, light up people’s homes, shops, public spaces and places of worship as part of celebrations which mark the start of the Hindu new year.

It is also celebrated with music, candles, fireworks and the sharing of traditional sweets.

Many people prepare for the festival by cleaning and decorating their homes, and on the night of celebrations wear new clothes and take part in family puja, or prayers to Lakshmi.

Rangoli artwork – patterns and designs made from coloured powders, ground rice powders and flowers – are displayed, commonly depicting a lotus leaf.

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