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Diwali: Festival of Lights

Diwali: Festival of Lights

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Image of food and lights celebrating Diwali.

Photo by Udayaditya Barua on Unsplash

  • Interfaith Chat: What is Diwali?  A Conversation with Dean Vinaya Tripuraneni
  • Monday, Nov. 9 from 12-12:30 p.m.

    • Zoom:

    • Meeting ID: 547 514 1415, Passcode: 798089

    • Diwali, also known as the “Festival of Lights,” is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains around the world.  This year Diwali will be celebrated from Nov. 12-16.  Come join us for an Interfaith Chat with Vinaya Tripuraneni, Dean of Libraries and Learning, who will talk about Diwali, especially as it is practiced within Hinduism.

What is Diwali?

"Diwali, or the “festival of lights,” is a five-day Hindu festival that always falls between mid-October and mid-November because of its placement on the Hindu lunar calendar. Diwali is an official state holiday in most major Hindu nations. For Hindus and many Hindu Americans, Diwali is one of the most important festivals of the year. Typically celebrated together by families, festivities often take place in the home. There are many regional and religious variations that impact the more specific meanings of Diwali for various Hindus, and this in turn will change the activities that accompany each celebration. It is common, however, to see candles and other light-related festivities for Diwali."


Lant, K. (2013). Hindu americans. In C. E. Cortés (Ed.), Multicultural America: A multimedia encyclopedia (Vol. 1, pp. 1072).

       Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc. doi: 10.4135/9781452276274.n404

Image of samosas on a wood platter


Photo by kabir cheema on Unsplash

Gulab Jamun

Photo by jaikishan patel on Unsplash

Kachori Indian food


Photo by Prachi Palwe on Unsplash

platter with pakora dish


Photo by Anshu A on Unsplash

Diwali dinner plates

Diwali Dinner Setting


  • Clay lamps (dipa) are displayed in homes
  • Homes are thoroughly cleaned in order to welcome Lakshmi, goddess of wealth. It is believed she will not visit unless homes are clean.
  • Rangoli, special patterns made of rice flour, rice, or spices, decorate doorways to welcome Lakshmi. 
  • Families get together and share/exchange sweets.
  • Families greet each other with "Subh Diwali," which means Happy Diwali.
  • Everyone buys new clothes to celebrate.
  • Those that have quarreled put their differences aside to celebrate friendship. 


  • DuMoulin, B., & Sikundar, S. (1998). Celebrating our cultures : Language arts activities for classroom teachers . Pembroke.
Diwali floor decoration


Image courtesy of Dean Vinaya Tripuraneni 

Diwali floor decoration

Candlelight Rangoli

Image courtesy of Dean Vinaya Tripuraneni 

Diwali floor decoration


Images courtesy of Dean Vinaya Tripuraneni 

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