Once a year in the fall, during the darkest new moon in the Hindu month Kartik, Hindu communities and temples shine bright with millions of candles and lamps. Known as Diwali, or the festival of lights, this celebration dates back to ancient times. The exact date varies from year to year but always falls between October and November, depending on the position of the moon.
The traditional name of this holiday, “Deepawali,” originates from the Sanskrit word “deep,” meaning “light” and “avali,” meaning “row.” Depending on the region and religion, the duration of the festival, as well as the history and origin of the holiday, may vary. Although Diwali is mainly a family affair, it’s also a religious day for many Hindus. Many celebrate the holiday to bring prosperity and good health to their families.
Diwali celebration ideas
Want to make the most of India’s biggest holiday of the year? We’ve gathered eight ways to celebrate this important and meaningful occasion.
Donate to your favorite cause
Many versions of the Diwali celebrations include “washing your wealth.” This can mean literally washing your coins with milk and water, or sharing your wealth with those in need.
Add candles and lights around your house
The “Festival of Lights” simply calls for illumination. Candles — called “diyas” — are filled with oil and displayed throughout homes. The vibrant display is an expression of respect to the deities for the prosperity in life.
Decorate with color
Many families will create floral art, known as rangoli, and display them in front of their house to add more vibrancy and color to the celebration.
Order or make traditional Diwali foods
Diwali calls for sweets, and lots of them. Some of the most popular desserts for this holiday include gulab jalum, a fried, milk-based treat, and Halwa, a dense, nut-based dessert.
Having a traditional Indian feast — with everything from chicken tikka masala to biryani rice and many other amazing dishes and delicacies — is also a great way to celebrate Diwali.
Play Diwali games
Gambling and games are a tradition in Diwali celebrations. Play for candy or simply for memories. Invite the extended family and make it a family affair.
Plan a romantic night with your significant other
In many versions of the celebration, the fourth day of Diwali is dedicated to nurturing the marital relationship. Whisk your partner away with a carefully planned date they will never forget.
Catch up with siblings
One of the last days of the festival focuses on the brother-sister relationship. Grab your sibling(s) and plan an outing or activity you can all bond over.
Participate in local community events or create your own
For a truly authentic experience, research Diwali celebrations in your local community or Hindu temple. You also can create your own celebration. At the 1-800-Flowers.com offices, we celebrate every year.
Send Diwali gifts and gourmet treats
Celebrate the Festival of Lights by sending thoughtful Diwali gifts and gourmet treats to friends and family who celebrate to wish them a happy holiday. Flowers are the perfect Diwali decoration to send friends and family.