On the 15th day of the month of Kartika, millions around the world will be celebrating Diwali.
In 2017, this special day falls on 19 October in India, where it’s an official holiday to celebrate the ‘Festival of Lights’. The festival symbolises the triumph of good over evil and the revellers rejoice in the ensuing light over darkness.
While the origin of the celebrations differ for Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists, together they will will mark the holy festival with five days of street parties and fireworks.
As you can imagine, this is a magical time to travel in India. Houses are decorated in bright colours and shimmering streamers, vibrant patterns are created on floors using coloured rice or powder and there’s a constant glow of candles and fairy lights.
Diwali, or Deepavali, festival embraces a strong belief in helping those in need and there’s a wonderful generosity as Indians visit friends and family to exchange gifts and share traditional sweets.
Don’t be surprised if you see lots of card games taking place. According to legend, on this day the Goddess Parvati played dice with her husband, Lord Shiva. After thoroughly enjoying the game she exclaimed that “whosoever plays dice on this day shall be bestowed with good fortune throughout the year!” Today the dice have been replaced by cards, but in honour of the age old tradition people gather to indulge in friendly gambling matches.
This vivacious Festival of Lights is typical of the colourful customs and culturally rich experiences that you’ll get to enjoy in India. From a quick trip around the Golden Triangle, to a spiritual journey in south, a Gate 1 tour of India in 2018 will leave you with remarkable memories that will flicker brightly for years!
Photo: Varanasi, India, courtesy of Brian Pazevic