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Diwali/Deepavali in 2018

An important Hindu Festival observed as a public holiday in several countries

Handmade Diwali Diya Lamp in Hand ©akhilesh
Image credit: akhilesh

When is Diwali?

How long until Diwali?
This holiday is today!
Dates of Diwali
Year Weekday Date
2020 Saturday November 14th
2019 Sunday October 27th
2018 Wednesday November 7th
2017 Wednesday October 18th
2016 Sunday October 30th
Who observes Diwali?
Country Known as Date
Fiji Fiji Diwali 7 Nov
Guyana Guyana Deepavali 6 Nov
India India (regional - see below) Deepavali 7 Nov
Kenya Kenya (regional - see below) Diwali** 7 Nov
Malaysia Malaysia (regional - see below) Deepavali 6 Nov
Mauritius Mauritius Diwali 7 Nov
Myanmar Myanmar Deepavali 6 Nov
Singapore Singapore Deepavali 6 Nov
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka Deepavali 6 Nov
Suriname Suriname Deepavali 7 Nov
Trinidad and Tobago Trinidad and Tobago Diwali 7 Nov

The Festival of Lights is known as Deepavali (deep - lamp, vali - array). This is the name of the festival in Southern India and is how the festival is referred to in other Asian countries such as Malaysia and Singapore. In Northern India, it is more commonly known as Diwali, but they are essentially the same celebration.

In both countries and for Hindus around the world, the celebration revolves around the triumph of good over evil, purity over impurity, light over darkness. It is one of the most important Hindu festivals with over 800 million people celebrating the festival in various ways.

Why is Diwali celebrated?

Diwali marks the return of Lord Rama, who was the seventh incarnation of Vishnu, from a fourteen year exile.

The Festival of Lights takes place on the darkest night (first night of the new moon) in the month of Kartik in the Hindu calendar.

Across India streets and temples are decorated with spectacular light displays and colorful garlands.

In their homes, people light small oil lamps called diyas. It is believed that deceased relatives come back to visit their families on Earth during this festival and the lights are a way to guide the spirits home. The sound of firecrackers exploding is common as the noise is said to drive away evil spirits.

Over 70% of all firecrackers used during Diwali come from the town of Sivaski in Tamil Nadu.

Families, friends and business associates exchange gifts and sweets, settle old business deals and are encouraged to rid themselves of hate, anger and jealousy.

The festival is a time for rejoicing and renewal.

Diwali holds significance not only in Hinduism but also in Sikhism who celebrate the release of their sixth Guru (literal translation: teacher) Hargobind. To Sikhs, it is known as Bandi Chhor Divas. The Jains celebrate it as the day when Lord Mahaveer, the last trithankara, attained Nirvana or Moksha.

India

Across India, the festival may last for several days and different regions may have holidays on these days.

Diwali in India in 2017
The most widespread holiday is 18 October, where Diwali is a holiday in Arunachal pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chandigarah, Goa, Himachal pradesh, Jharkhand, Kerala, Manipur, Meghalaya, Madhya pradesh, Nagaland, Odisha, Sikkim, Tamil nadu, Telangana, Uttarakhand.

Diwali is celebrated on 19 October in Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana, Maharashtra, Mizoram, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh.

Malaysia

In Malaysia, Diwali is known as Hari Diwali and is celebrated in the month of Aswayuja. It is a federal public holiday across Malaysia with the exception of the region of Sarawak and the Federal Territory of Labuan.

Pakistan

In Pakistan, Diwali is sometimes declared as a public holiday for the Hindu community in Sindh province. Just less than 5% of the population of Sindh are Hindu.

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