What is Diwali?

The word Diwali means 'rows of lighted lamps'.

Diwali is known as the 'festival of lights' because houses, shops and public places are decorated with small oil lamps called 'diyas'.

When is Diwali?

Diwali always falls some time between October and November, but the exact date varies each year as the Hindu calendar is based on the Moon.

In 2021, Diwali is on Thursday 4 November.

What is the story of Diwali?


Long ago there was a great warrior prince called Rama. He was married to a beautiful princess called Sita.

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How is Diwali celebrated?

For many people this five day festival honours Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. Lamps are lit and windows and doors are left open to help Lakshmi find her way into people's homes.

Other ways that Hindus celebrate the festival include:

  • Spring-cleaning the home
  • Wearing new clothes
  • Exchanging gifts (often sweets and dried fruits) and preparing festive meals
  • Decorating buildings with fancy lights
  • Huge fireworks displays
During Diwali, people also make patterns called rangoli from colourful materials like powders and pastes.

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Bitesize - KS2 Religion - What is Diwali?

What is Diwali?