The Ultimate Diwali Fact Guide, 2018
Happy Diwali! The festival of lights, which is also sometimes referred to as ‘Deepavali’ or ‘Divali’ due to phonetic influences in some dialects, is an ancient Hindu date of celebration. The festival follows the Hindu lunar calendar, and this year it is all set to be celebrated on November 7th (that’s today!) To commemorate the occasion, we have tried to compile an ‘ultimate’ fact guide for you, to give you the ultimate edge in Diwali trivia, should the need arise! Feel free to share these with a loved one with whom you are planning to share your Diwali moments this year.
1. Every year, Diwali is celebrated on the fifteenth (15th) day of the Kartik month of the Hindu calendar.
2. The total number of people celebrating Diwali around the world, averages at 800 million people every year!
3. The festival of lights is celebrated to honor and appease the goddess Lakshmi, a symbol of wealth and prosperity.
4. The festival also historically marks the return of Lord Ram and Sita to their erstwhile capital city of Ayodhya, after the legendary battle that is depicted in the Ramayana.
5. The word ‘Diwali’ literally translates into “A row of lighted lamps”.
6. Proponents of the festival and priests associate Diwali with the victory of light over darkness.
7. Diwali holds ground as one of the most large-scale shopping festivals in India.
8. Diwali doesn’t just mean a holiday for Indians! Trinidad, Tobago, Myanmar, Nepal, Mauritius, Guyana, Singapore, Malaysia, Suriname, Fiji, and Sri Lanka also have holidays to mark the festival.
9. The night before Diwali is celebrated as ‘Naraka Chaturdasi’ in South India, as ‘Kali Puja’ in Bengal and Assam, and as ‘Chhoti Diwali’ or mini-Diwali in some parts of North India.
10. On the same night as Diwali, Jains also celebrate a festival of lights to siginify the attainment of Mahavira’s ‘Moksha’ (enlightenment).
11. The Sikh community celebrates Diwali to mark an anniversary of the release of Guru Hargobind Sahibji (a leader of their religious sect) and 52 other kings and princes from all over India, from the captivity of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan.
12. Outside India, the British city of Leicester is famous for hosting the largest and most extravagant Diwali celebrations.
13. The total cost of fireworks burnt during Diwali around the world, is estimated to be one billion dollars.