Diwali (or Deepavali) is India’s most significant holiday. Though technically a Hindu festival, Diwali is celebrated throughout India by members of many different faiths.
The five-day party begins in October or November, and honors the Hindu goddess of wealth, Lakshmi. This year, it starts this Tuesday (November 10) or Wednesday (November 11), depending on where you are.
Diwali celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, or good over evil, which explains its other name, “the festival of lights.” Light features prominently in Diwali celebrations, in the form of candles and fireworks. People have time off from work and new clothes are purchased and worn.
Food also plays a central role in the holiday. On the fourth day of Diwali, which coincides with the Hindu New Year, people bring sweet foods and gifts to friends and family to signify good wishes for the coming year. But the rituals and foods vary by region—you might have petha candy in Northern India or Pakistan, or deep-fried shankarpali cookies in western India. Sweetness is the common thread.
Here are some of our favorite scenes of Diwali celebrations, brought to you by our Your Shot community.
For more on Diwali, see our video, Diwali Festival of Lights.