Diwali, also known as the Festival of Lights, is Hinduism’s most important holiday. It celebrates the victory of goodness over evil and light over darkness, and, for many, ushers in the new year.
Step 1: Clean your home Prepare for the holiday by cleaning your home from top to bottom beforehand.
TIP: The Hindu lunar calendar is used to calculate the festival’s dates, which typically fall in October or November.
Step 2: Wear new clothes Wear new clothes to keep with the renewal theme of the holiday.
Step 3: Place diyas or electric lights Place diyas, which are earthenware oil lamps, or electric lights around your home and place of business. Different parts of India honor different deities during Diwali. One of the most commonly venerated is Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, and the lamps are supposed to guide her to these places. The lamps also signify the light of knowledge.
TIP: Diyas are traditionally lit with mustard oil, using cotton wool for the wick.
Step 4: Set off fireworks Set off fireworks, following safety rules and government regulations, to display the joy of the festival.
Step 5: Open doors & windows Open your doors and windows so Lakshmi can enter. You don’t want the goddess of wealth to pass you by because she didn’t have a key!
Step 6: Trace rangoli patterns on floors Draw or trace rangoli patterns on your floors with chalk and fill them in with powder. You can also buy premade rangoli and set them on your floor.
TIP: The most common pattern is the lotus flower, because Lakshmi is often portrayed holding or sitting on a lotus. Animal and zodiac signage are also common.
Step 7: Decorate shrine to Lakshmi To continue the tribute to Lakshmi, decorate a home shrine to her. Money and photos of houses, cars, and other signs of prosperity customarily are displayed.
Step 8: Finalize all account books On the third day, finalize all account books since day four marks the beginning of the new financial year in most areas.
Step 9: Exchange gifts Buy and exchange gifts, especially dried fruits and sweets, with friends and family. Between the fireworks and the candy, it’s clear why in India Diwali is children’s favorite holiday.
FACT: From the Sanskrit word dipwali or deepavali, Diwali means 'row of lights,' and Sikhs and Jains also celebrate it.