Diwali is one of the most important festivals of the year for Hindus. It is also celebrated by Sikhs, Buddhists, and Jains. As such, several countries regard it as an official holiday. These countries include India, Nepal, and Singapore, to name a few. Also known as the Festival of Lights, Diwali commonly sees its observers lighting various things, such as small clay lamps, and the general idea is to honor the triumph of good over evil.
In relation to India, Diwali is celebrated across the country. In fact, it is generally considered to be the country’s most important holiday. Many observers light candles, lanterns, sparklers, and all sorts of other things once the sun goes down. The various devices are often set up in rows in an attempt to symbolize the rows of light that welcomed the hero Rama home after his fourteen-year exile. Other common practices include setting up other kinds of light displays, cleaning one’s house thoroughly, exchanging gifts, handing out sweets, and having celebrations with friends and next of kin. It should also be noted that a number of gods preside over the festival that is known as Diwali. The most important of all is Lakshmi–the goddess of wealth and prosperity.
Diwali in India is predominantly celebrated over the course of five days and it coincides with the first new moon day in either October or November. Each day generally sees observers celebrating one of the main stories that are associated with the festival. Other things can also be at the heart of the various celebrations. Diwali marks the end of the harvest season in much of India, for example, so it is also a time for farmers to give thanks for last year’s bounty and to pray for a good year ahead.
Should you wish to include the Diwali experience on your India vacation agenda, a trip to Amritsar might be in order. During the Diwali in Amristsar celebration, some of the city’s main buildings are literally covered in lights. This includes the famed Golden Temple. Suffice it to say that the Golden Temple Diwali light display is nothing short of spectacular. Fireworks displays add their own effect, and thousands descend upon Amritsar to experience it all.