1. ITV Report

What is Diwali? All you need to know on the Festival of Light

Fireworks and other spectacular lighting are common sights for Diwali. Photo: ITV West Country

People across the West Country are celebrating the festival of Diwali.

Marked by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains for several reasons, the main idea behind the festival is the victory of light over darkness and good over evil.

  • What does 'Diwali' mean?

The word ‘Diwali’ (sometimes called 'Deepavali') means 'rows of lighted lamps'.

Diwali is often referred to as 'The Festival of Lights'.

Small lamps called 'diyas' are often lit and placed around the home. Credit: ITV West Country
  • Why is Diwali celebrated?

Many Hindus celebrate the return of Lord Rama and his wife Sita to Ayodhya.

The demon Ravanna had kidnapped Sita so Rama travelled to rescue her and defeated his enemy.

Rama and Sita's return home was celebrated by lighting the kingdom with lamps and this tradition continues today around the world.

Hindus use Diwali to celebrate the return of Lord Rama and Sita. Credit: ITV West Country
  • How do people celebrate?

As the name implies, lights represent an important part of the festival. Lamps (called diyas), fireworks and other light sources are used to celebrate.

Music and dance are also popular at Diwali with many local communities organising events to tie in with lights being switched on.

During Diwali, it is also traditional for families to clean their homes in honour of the new season, as well as wearing new clothes during the celebration.

Families will also share Indian sweets and gifts, as well as giving food, money and goods to those in need.

Music and dance are both used to celebrate Diwali. Credit: ITV West Country
  • Why is the festival on a different day each year?

Diwali lasts five days in total, with the festival of lights falling on the third days of celebrations.

The exact date depends on the position of the moon and the calendar so varies each year.

Credit: ITV West Country
  • Apart from Hindus, who else celebrates Diwali?

Sikhs celebrate Bandi Chhor Devas on the same day as Diwali.

This festival marks the day that Guru Hargobind Ji, the Sixth Sikh Guru, was freed from imprisonment and freed 51 other people at the same time.

In Jainism, the date marks the spiritual awakening of Lord Mahavira.

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