In celebration of Diwali

The Festival of Lights

Earthen lamps, fireworks, homes filled with the sweet smell of delightful sweets, the warmth of family and friends, and the chill of the upcoming winter season; that is how we like to picture ‘Diwali’. Diwali the ‘festival of lights’ is mainly celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains and originated in the country of India. Nowadays this holiday is celebrated all around the world including the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. Observing the victory of good over evil, Diwali is an opportunity for people to move on, let go of past grudges, and make merry.

The holiday of Diwali represents lessons and values to be kept throughout one’s life. Each value and lesson is celebrated on a particular day of the five-day holiday and it is learned through the struggles and triumphs of Gods and other important figures in the religion’s mythology.

The five days of Diwali fall on different days every year depending on the Lunar Calendar. This year, Diwali takes place between October 22 - 26.

 Day 1, Dhanteras (Day of fortune): The first day of Diwali is considered an auspicious day for cleaning the house, buying gold, or gathering luck-bringing trinkets and utensils. Dhanteras celebrates the birth of Dhanvantri, the god of medicine. ‘Dhan’ means ‘wealth’ and ‘Teras’ refers to the thirteenth day of the dark Lunar month. So, on this day, the goddess of wealth and prosperity, Lakshmi is also invoked to bless the household with prosperity.

Day 2, Naraka Chaturdasi (Day of knowledge): Alarms are set, and families rise before dawn to take a holy bath and change into new clothes right after and have breakfast with friends and family. Naraka Chaturdasi commemorates the Diwali story of how Shri Krishna, an avatar of Vishnu, defeated the demon Narakasura, thus banishing fear from the world.

Day 3, Lakshmi Puja (Day of light): The big celebration, with food and fireworks! Homes and streets are decorated with diyas and rangolis. Prayers are offered to Lakshmi. It is also the day when the years-long gloom over the ancient city of Ayodhya is said to have been lifted with the return of the rightful and righteous ruler of the kingdom, Lord Ram – along with his wife, Sita, and brother Laxman, from their fourteen-year-long exile in the forest.

Day 4, Govardhan Puja: Friends and family exchange gifts. The legend goes that Lord Indra was provoked and tried to submerge the town of Gokul. Lord Krishna saved the people of Gokul from the wrath of Lord Indra by lifting the Govardhan Mountain to provide succor. A blessing was bestowed on the Govardhan Mountain that it will be honored through the ages. The tradition has been followed ever since.

Day 5, Bhai Dooj: An opportunity for more family time and tasty meals, this time centered around brothers and sisters. Traditionally, men of the family visit the homes of their married sisters to pray for each other’s good fortune.

Diwali is also loved for another reason- Food! Every household has its own traditional Diwali food menu that comprises of delicious sweets and mouthwatering savory items.

Food occupies an essential place in Indian culture and traditions along with filling us with nutritional goodness. Some popular sweets include laddu, burfi, rasmalai, halwa, jangiri, payasam etc. Popular snacks include different varieties of murukku, vada, mixture etc. Here are some resources for recipes.


How AC library celebrates Diwali,

We strive to recognize the differences between the different countries and cultures around the world while also celebrating the similarities that unite us. In keeping with that feeling of unity, our libraries are hosting displays and crafts all throughout October. Here is our list of staff book recommendations for Diwali.

Let's Celebrate Diwali!

List created by ACL_JuliaW

This Diwali book list features a little something for everyone and will help you understand more about festival of lights.

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You can also check out these community Diwali programs here and in neighboring counties: