How Indians Celebrate Diwali - Dates, Rituals, Foo

Deepawali, or Diwali, is India's most favorite, most popular, and most significant festival. The festival of lights. The festival gets its name from the row of lights lit at homes, offices, and other establishments. These lights symbolize the inner light of Indians that protects them from spiritual darkness. Everyone in India celebrates this festival, literally, everyone from every religion.

Over the years, Deepawali has become a national festival celebrated by Jainism culture as the nirvana or spiritual awakening. Jainism remarks it for Lord Mahavira; in Sikhism, they honor the day for Guru Hargobind Ji, the Sixth Sikh Guru, and even Buddhists in India celebrate Diwali as well.

In north India, people celebrate the story of Lord Rama's return to Ayodhya after he defeated Ravana by lighting rows of clay lamps and lanterns at their homes. Its believed that on Diwali day, they welcomed Lord Rama, who was coming back to Ayodhya from his Vanavaas. In South India, people celebrate it as the day that Lord Krishna defeated the demon Narakasura. The Western Indians celebrate this festival to mark the day that Lord Vishnu, the Preserver (one of the main gods of the Hindu trinity) sent the demon King Bali to rule the nether world.


Deepawali is celebrated in India for over 5 days.

  • Day 1, Dhanteras: People clean their homes and buy gold or kitchen equipment believing it brings good fortune.

  • Day 2, Narak Chaturdasi: People decorate their homes with lanterns, clay lamps, and patterned rangoli on the floor using colored powders or sand.

  • Day 3, Lakshmi Puja: Day third is the main day of the Diwali festival and families prepare for the day early in the morning and visit temples. In the evening, families gather together for Lakshmi puja, they worship Goddess Lakshmi, followed by mouth-watering feasts and firework festivities.

  • Day 4, Govardhan Puja: This is believed to be the first day of the new year in Hindu culture when friends and relatives visit with gifts and best wishes for the season.

  • Day 5, Bhai Dooj: Day fifth is marked as Bhaubij when brothers visit their married sisters who welcome them with love and a lavish meal.

The dates and important days of the Deepavali festival are based on the Hindu lunar calendar, which marks each month by the time it takes the moon to orbit Earth. Diwali starts just before the new moon between the Hindu months of Asvina and Kartika that typically fall in October or November of our regular calendar.


How do Indians Celebrate Diwali?

How Indians Celebrate Diwali - 2022 Dates, Rituals, Food & Greetings

Diwali has different legends in different parts of India, as mentioned before. Diwali is the most prominent holiday ritual for Indians, and so they celebrate it with a whole heart. Diwali is filled with the abundance of sweets, family gatherings, and the lighting of clay lamps & lanterns that symbolize the inner light in every Indian that protects each household from spiritual darkness.

Before the festival begins, people usually start cleaning and redecorating their homes, shop for new clothes and jewelry, and exchange gifts such as sweets, dried fruits, and nuts. In addition, many people come together for dinner parties, arrange outdoor food festivals and craft fairs, all of this creates excitement ahead of the main Diwali celebration.

The most known fact in North India is, people celebrate Diwali traditionally by Gambling. Card games are played late into the night in the weeks before Diwali or after the celebrations. Sometimes, they might enjoy a few drinks and plenty of finger food at these parties, including platters of kebabs, fried savory snacks, tandoori grills, and whatnots.


What food is eaten during Diwali?

How Indians Celebrate Diwali - 2022 Dates, Rituals, Food & Greetings

Food is an integral part of Diwali, and hence every region in India enjoys its favorite dishes. There are no fasts followed during Diwali festivities. And there’s no set evening menu. In some homes, especially in Northern India, meals aren’t even vegetarian.

Tasty snacks may include samosas, bhajis, aloo Tikki, and channa bhatura. The state of Gujarat enjoys its crunchy snacks, known as ‘farssan’.

But, with main meals to enjoy, Indians feature meaty curries, such as our amazing tikka masala, or a feast of vegetarian Indian dishes, including daals and pulses. But the Mithais in Diwali are the real stars of Diwali. They’re made with dairy products, which have a religious significance and are offered to both gods and guests.

Sweet shops like traditional Halwai shops prepare sweets and savory snacks, although home cooks will also make family favorites, such as barfi, fried and sweetened gram flour balls known as ladoos. Gullies and lanes of every Indian town and city are filled with fragrant saffron and roasted gram flour. 


Diwali is not only India's biggest festival, but an important celebration in many parts of the world.

Yes, Diwali is celebrated in many parts of the world - including the White House. Right from Melbourne, Australia to San Antonio, Texas, people across the globe are now enjoying the traditional Indian festival of lights. In 2009, former President Barack Obama started the tradition of observing Diwali and in 2016, he marked the holiday by lighting a Diya in the Oval Office.

As mentioned in his Facebook post back then, "As Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and Buddhists light the diya, share in prayers, decorate their homes, and open their doors to host and feast with loved ones, we recognize that this holiday rejoices in the triumph of good over evil and knowledge over ignorance." He added, "It also speaks to a broader truth about our shared American experience. It's a reminder of what's possible when we see beyond the differences that too often divide us. It's a reflection of the hopes and dreams that bind us together. And it's a time to renew our collective obligation to deepen those bonds, to stand in each other's shoes and see the world through each other's eyes, and to embrace each other as brothers and sisters - and as fellow Americans."


Diwali Celebrations Across the Globe

Though Diwali celebrations across the globe vary, as they mix with the local cultures of the place, the essence of Diwali as the festival of lights is carried everywhere!



Although there is a small population of Indian people in Indonesia, Bali, a popular island in Indonesia, is famous for celebrating the festival of Diwali. Most of the population here is from India and follows the same rituals as India - where people burn crackers, release lanterns and perform other rituals. 



Diwali is a public holiday in Fiji where a huge population of Hindus celebrates the festival of light with the same passion and zeal as it is celebrated in India. People enjoy Diwali with joy and cultural aspects with traditional goodwill and rituals.



Mauritius is a multicultural island with a large number of Hindus along with non-Hindus celebrating the joyous festival of Diwali. It is also observed as a public holiday here.



Malaysia calls Diwali 'Hari Diwali’ meaning ‘Green Diwali’. Why? Malaysia has banned fireworks in the country. Though crackers are an important part of the festivity, the brightly-lit diyas, lamps compensate for it and complete the missing piece. Diwali in Malaysia is a public holiday and is the most noticeably celebrated festival of the Hindus that constitutes about 8% of its population.


Sri Lanka

Diwali is celebrated as an important festival in Sri Lanka for 5 days, just like in India. Deepavali here is popularly celebrated by the Hindu Tamilians communities residing in the country. The celebrations include fireworks, decorating homes with oil lamps, rituals, and the distribution of sweets.



Tihar - that's the name for Diwali here in Nepal. The festival here carries for a period of 5 days with people not only worshipping gods but the animals too. Every year, on the second day of Diwali celebrations in Nepal, the country celebrates Kukur Tihar, or "day of the dogs," by worshipping man's four-legged friend. Yes, dogs are worshipped early in the morning with flowers and vermillion tikka.


How do you wish for Diwali in different languages in India?

How Indians Celebrate Diwali - 2022 Dates, Rituals, Food & Greetings

Sanskrit: शुभ दीपावली । सर्वे भवान्तु सुखिनः Shubhah Deepavalihi.. Sarve bhavantu sukhinah

Hindi: आप सभी को खुशियों और उल्लास से भरी दिवाली की शुभ-कामनाएं ! Aap Sab ko prasannata evam anand se paripoorn Diwali ki shubhkaamnaayein!

Marathi: तुम्हा सर्वाना सुखी अणि आनंददायी अश्या दिवाळीच्या हार्दिक शुभेच्छा Tumha sarvana, sukhi ani aanandmayi asha ya Diwlicha hardik shubbhecha.

Gujarati:  Diwali ni hardik shubechao ne nutan varshabhinandan 

Konkani: तुन्का सग्गाठंकयी दीपावली ची हार्दिक शुभेच्छा । Antu asile pura lokaku amgel kadechan Deepavali parbeche shubhashay.

Telugu: Andariki Deepawali shubakankshalu

Tamil: எல்லோருக்கும் இனிய தீபாவளி நல்வாழ்த்துக்கள்! Anaivarukum iniya Dheebavali nal valhthukkal.Deepavali naal vazhthagal.

Malayalam: എല്ലാവര്‍ക്കും സന്തോഷവും ആഹ്ലാതവും നിറഞ്ഞ ദീപാവലി ആശംസകള്‍. Ellavarkkum santhoshavum ahlathavum niranja Deepavali ashamsakal

എല്ലാവര്‍ക്കും സന്തോഷവും ആഹ്ലാതവും നിറഞ്ഞ ദീപാവലി ആശംസകള്‍.

Kannada: ದೀಪಾವಳಿ ಹಬ್ನದ ಹಾರ್ದಿಕ ಶುಭಾಶಯಗಳು ಮೋಜಿನದೀಪಾವಳಿ ಹಬ್ಬದ ಹಾರ್ಧಿಕ ಶುಭಾಶಯಗಳು DeepavaLi habbada hardika shubhashayagaLu.

Marwari: थे लोंगा ने दिवाली की हार्दिक शुभकामनाएं. Ram Ram sa Diwali ra jualda karu sa,aapne or aapre sagla pariwar ne diwali ra ramasama karu sa.

Punjabi: त्वानूं सब नूं दिवाली दी लख लख बधाइयाँ। Twahnu Diwali diyan lakh-2 badhaiyan!!

Bhojpuri: Raurake Diwali ke badhayi ho.

Bangla: Sakalkeyi Diwali priti o antarik subhecha. Asha kori, ei Dibas apnar jibone Anando niye ashe

English: Wishing you all, a very happy and fun-filled Diwali. Happy Deepawali.


When is Diwali in 2022?

In 2021, we Indians celebrated Diwali with so much excitement, and in 2022, the schedule for Diwali will be as follows:

  • 21st October 2022 - Friday - Ekadashi - Vasu Baras

  • 22nd October 2022 - Saturday - Dwadashi - Dhantrayodashi/Dhanteras

  • 23rd October 2022 - Sunday - Trayodashi - Kali Chaudas

  • 24th October 2022 - Monday - Chaturdashi - Narak Chaturdashi/Lakshmi Puja/Diwali Puja

  • 25th October 2022 - Tuesday - Amavasya - Diwali Snan/Diwali Devpuja

  • 26th October 2022 - Wednesday - Pratipada - Govardhan Puja, Bali Pratipada, Gujarati New Year, Bhaiya Dooj, Bhau Beej, Yama Dwitiya.


Until next Diwali, keep safe, be happy and enjoy Indian culture to the fullest!