“Diwali,” which is also referred to as Deepavali and Divali, is an important festival in India that is mainly celebrated by the Hindus. It is also known as the festival of light. Every year, the date of this festival is calculated by the Hindu lunar calendar. In 2015, the festival was celebrated on November 11th, and it will be held on October 30th in 2016.
Here are 27 interesting facts about Diwali
1. Diwali is celebrated on the fifteenth day of the Hindu month of Kartika. Hinduism is a major religion of India, and is considered to be the oldest religion in the world.
2. More than 800 million people celebrate this festival in various ways.
3. It is celebrated in honor of Lakshmi – the Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity.
4. The festival also marks the return of the Lord Rama and Sita after completing fourteen years in exile.
5. The word Diwali means “the row of lighted lamps (diyas)” in Hindi.
6. The festival signifies the victory of light over darkness.
7. Diwali also marks a major shopping festival in the places where it is celebrated. There are special discounts and offers that businesses provide to their customers. Buying new things during this festival is considered to be good.
8. It is the most famous, biggest and brightest festival of India, and is celebrated for five days.
9. It is a national holiday in India, Trinidad & Tobago, Myanmar, Nepal, Mauritius, Guyana, Singapore, Surinam, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Fiji. And is an optional holiday in Pakistan.
10. On the same night that Diwali is celebrated, Jains celebrate a festival of lights to mark the attainment of moksha by Mahavira.
11. Oil and light lamps are used in high numbers in and around peoples’ houses and properties to celebrate the festival. The festival commemorates the lighting that was done to bring Lord Rama and his wife Sita from the forest of Ayodhya.
12. Diyas light the houses; fireworks illuminate the skies and rangoli decoratesthe outside Hindu homes. They do this to attract Lakshmi, the goddess of good fortune.
13. Traditional diyas (light lamps) used during Diwali are earthen lamps, although plastic and metallic diyas have also become available recently. These diyas are filled with ghee or oil, and a cotton wick is used to bear the flame.
14. And the diyas are left burning all night.
15. Sikhs also celebrate Diwali, as it marks the release of their gurji – Guru Hargobind Sahibji – and 52 other kings and princess of India that were made captives by the mogul emperor Shah Jahan.
16. It is a tradition to clean the house, making it spotless before entering the New Year.
17. Businesses also start new accounting books, and farmers end the harvest season. The festival also signals the onset of winter.
18. Hindus all over the world, and especially in India celebrate the festival by exchanging gifts, wearing new clothes and preparing festive meals.
19. Idols of Lord Ganesh and Goddess Lakshmi are placed side by side for the prayers and rituals. Lord Ganesh is worshipped first followed by Lord Lakshmi.
20. Diwali is also celebrated in honor of the marriage of the Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi. And it also marks the triumph of the Lord Krishna over the demon Naraka. Hindus in Bengal honor the fearsome Goddess Kali on the occasion of Diwali.
21. The English city of Leicester hosts the biggest Diwali celebrations outside of India.
22. Diwali also plays a significant role in Sikhism. The foundation stone of the Golden Temple was laid on the day of Diwali in 1577.
23. “Shubh Deepavali” is a customary greeting associated with Diwali. It means, “Have an auspicious diwali”.
24. During the festival of Diwali, fireworks worth billions of dollars are ignited. These fireworks cause a lot of pollution, which is a particularly life hazard for those living in densely populated areas such as the cities of New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai in India. Fireworks produce a variety of pollutants affecting sound, light, air and water.
25. These fireworks cause health hazards such as respiratory issues, heart attacks, high blood pressure and many more. Moreover, fireworks during Diwali also cause safety hazards to the children handling them. Many of these firecrackers burst near children, causing them direct injuries. Hence, necessary precautions must be taken during the festival season, and a more environmentally friendly way of celebrating the festival should be adopted in the coming years.
26. Electricity consumption also rises significantly during the festival season, which results in heavy use of diesel generators to meet the demand for power. In turn, more pollution is caused due to the burning of fossil fuels.
27. The total cost of the firecrackers exploded in Diwali is estimated to be around one billion dollars. This is a significant amount of money, which could be used for other purposes like providing education and better health care facilities to those individuals who need them.