Diwali (also known as Deepavali) is the annual Hindu celebration of the triumph of light over darkness and is one of the most important festivals in India. Also referred to as the festival of lights, this five-day celebration is acknowledged around the world by Hindu families.
As part of Diwali, people will decorate their houses with lamps and rangolis, colourful circular patterns created on the floor or a tabletop using materials such as powdered limestone, red ochre, dry rice flour, coloured sand, quartz powder, flower petals, and coloured rocks. This vibrant, colourful display is an unforgettable sight, and one that is very meaningful to millions of people.
Apart from India, here are 5 places where you can experience the festival of light around the world.
Head to Little India to witness the sights and sounds of one of Singapore’s major cultural festivals. There is a special program of events and activities, including art installations, performances and the Silver Chariot Procession, and of course amazing street lights.
Over in Chinatown, the Sri Mariamman Temple, the oldest Hindu Temple of its kind in Singapore, hosts a special ritual about a week before Diwali. Theemithi is a traditional ritual that sees thousands of men walk on burning charcoal as a tribute to the goddess Draupadi Amman.
2. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Soak up the atmosphere of Diwali in Brickfields, Little India, where you can see the celebrations. Decorations and lights will be on display outside homes and shopping centres, as well as colourful rangoli designs (known as kolams in Malaysia) on the floor made from coloured rice and powders.
3. San Francisco, USA
A visit to one of San Francisco’s Hindu temples or Indian restaurants will give you a fascinating insight into how the Festival of Lights is celebrated in America. The Fremont Hindu Temple is well-know for its Diwali celebrations, which are typically held over two days and include a colourful night time display.
4. Leicester, United Kingdom
Diwali is celebrated by Indian families all around the UK, but Leicester has made a name for itself as the host of the biggest celebrations outside of India. The huge cultural celebration is enjoyed by people from all around the world who come to see the thousands of decorative lights along the city’s ‘Golden Mile’, enjoy fireworks displays and see homes and temples illuminated.
5. Brisbane, Australia
Our home town of Brisbane has hosted a Diwali Festival every year since 2010. This year’s celebration is a mega multicultural event held in King George Square with entertainers, food stalls, henna painting and more. Head into the city to experience the sights, sounds and tastes of Indian culture/