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Diwali, also referred to as Deepavali and Divali, is a five-day Hindu festival largely celebrated in India. It is commonly referred to as the Festival of Lights, signifying the triumph of good over evil. Other religions such as Sikhism and Jainism also observe this holiday.
See the fact file below for more information on the Diwali or alternatively, you can download our 22-page Diwali worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
Etymology and Religious Background
- The term ‘diwali’ comes from the word deepavali, which means “row of lamps”. It is celebrated on the 15th day of the Hindu month Kartik. Hindus around the world, especially in India, celebrate this day to honor Lakshmi and Ganesh, Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity, and lord of enlightenment, respectively.
- The Hindu festival was mentioned in Sanskrit texts in Padma Purana and Skanda Purana. Traditionally, Hindus used diyas or small lamps made of clay to decorate and light their houses.
- In some parts of India, the celebration of Diwali is associated with the story of Yama and Nachiketa in which knowledge triumphed over ignorance and good over evil as written in Katha Upanishad.
- According to North Indian traditions, Diwali is celebrated to mark the return of Lord Rama and Sita after being exiled for 14 years. In South India, however, Hindus observe Diwali to celebrate the death of the evil Nanakusa at the hands of Lord Krishna.
- For Hindu farmers, Diwali is the time to thank the deities for the harvest and wish for a prosperous harvest in the upcoming year.
Diwali Observances and Traditions
- Diwali is the most celebrated and famous festival in India. Aside from Hindus, the festival of lights is also observed by Sikhs, Jains and Newar Buddhists.
- Since 1577, Sikhs began to celebrate Diwali because it was during this time that the foundation stone for the Golden Temple was laid. The Golden Temple is considered the most sacred place of worship for Sikhs.
- Moreover, it also marks the return of the Sixth Guru, Guru Hargobind Ji, and 52 royals from imprisonment under the rule of Mughal Emperor Jahangir in 1619.
- In addition to Sikhs, Jain communities in India also celebrate Diwali as New Year’s day to commemorate the attainment of nirvana by Lord Mahavira.
- For Hindu traders and businessmen, Diwali marks the opening of the new financial year and accounting books. They offer prayers to Lord Ganesha for a prosperous year ahead.
- Today, Diwali is a national holiday in India, Myanmar, Trinidad and Tobago, Mauritius, Nepal, Singapore, Suriname, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Fiji.
- During the festival, houses are decorated with many diyas, while fireworks typically light the night skies. They do such practices to attract the goddess of fortune, Lakshmi. Traditional Hindu families offer fruits, rice, pudding, flowers and other gifts to goddess Lakshmi, also while performing puja or singing of sacred words.
- Houses are traditionally cleaned before Diwali making it spotless for the New Year.
- Hindus all over the world observe Diwali by exchanging gifts, wearing new clothes and sharing festive meals.
- In northern and western India, the five-day festival starts with dhanteras where houses and businesses are decorated and renovated. Women and children decorate entrances with rangoli design while men do external lighting.
- It is also a major shopping day for everyone, especially for gold and silver items.
- Day two is called Narak Chaturdashi or Choti Diwali, which is started with early-morning religious rituals followed by festivities. In some regions, special bathing rituals and hand henna designs for women are observed.
- Lakshmi Puja is the third day of Diwali and is also the main festive day. Hindus wear their best clothes, diyas in houses are lit while some are set adrift on bodies of water. Mothers are recognized during this day for their hard work.
- Rangoli is an art form that originated in India. These colourful floor patterns are usually created in living rooms and courtyards. During Diwali, women and children usually do this on house entrances.
- The fourth day is called Padwa and is ritually celebrated to honor the devotion of husband and wife.
- The last day is known as Bhai Duj, which celebrates the sister-brother relationship. It observes the lifelong bond of siblings through prayers, food-sharing and gift-giving.
- On Diwali, specific food like sweets (mithai) play an important role in the celebration. Among the mithai are freshly made Jalebis, Gulab Jamun, Kheer, Shankarpali and Suji Halwa.
- “Shubh Deepavali” is the usual greeting during Diwali. It means “have an auspicious Diwali”.
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Diwali across 22 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Diwali worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Diwali, also referred to as Deepavali and Divali, which is a five-day Hindu festival largely celebrated in India. It is commonly referred to as the Festival of Lights, signifying the triumph of good over evil. Other religions such as Sikhism and Jainism also observe this holiday.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Diwali Facts
- Annual Diwali
- Let Me Guess!
- Marking Days
- Hindu Know?
- What’s on the Menu?
- Grab a Word
- Festival of Lights
- My Rangoli
- Diwali Match Up
- Hear Me Out!
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Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.