14 Astounding Diwali Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About

Astounding Diwali Facts

Solemnizing the triumph of good over evil, Diwali is a festival celebrated by Hindus, Jains and Sikhs across the globe. Think of the word “Diwali”, and you’ll have your mind wandering around twinkling lights, eye-popping fireworks and vibrant colors in no time. Besides, there’s never a wrong time to mention how scrumptious the food is at this festivity, is there?

Come to think of it, Diwali is much more than what we know of it. More than firecrackers, sweets and family gatherings, it’s a festival that brings communities together and marks the defeat of darkness with lights.

Hence, we put on our thinking caps and compiled a list of 14 fun Diwali facts for you!

Here Are the 14 Most Amazing Facts About India’s Biggest Holiday of the Year

1. It Always Occurs On a No-Moon Night

Did you know that Diwali always occurs on moonless nights or “Amavasya,” as people refer to it in India? Falling in the month of “Kartika”, according to the Hindu calendar, this festival is celebrated on the darkest day of the lunar month. Hence, people light firecrackers and illuminate the walls and entrances of their houses. Much like Easter, the date for Diwali also changes yearly.

2. Businesses Also Mark It As a New Year

Most businesses across India literally mark the end of an era and the beginning of another by starting new accounting books following the festival. In fact, the practice isn’t only limited to the business sector.

Farmers across the country also end the harvest season, looking forward to the new year to restart the harvest. Furthermore, Diwali also officially signals the onset of the winter season. 

3. There Are Different Stories Associated With It

When it comes to defining what the festival commemorates, there isn’t just one story you can swing by. Diwali holds a different meaning for different parts of India. For instance, while North Indians associate it with the return of King Rama to Ayodhya after defeating the demon Ravana, South Indians associate it with the defeat of the demon Narakasura by Lord Krishna.

On the other hand, in the west, the festival is linked to the day that Lord Vishnu sent Bali, the king of demons to rule the nether world (aka hell). Regardless of the varying legends across the country, the festival in its true essence signifies the triumph of good over evil.

4. It’s Celebrated for Five Straight Days!

Diwali, the festival of lights

“We’ve had enough of Diwali”, said no one ever. There’s a good reason why the festival is divided into five days because, let’s face it, you can never have enough of it. Here’s how most people like to celebrate it:

Day 1: It’s usually marked by cleaning the homes and shopping for gold or kitchen utensils to ensure good fortune.

Day 2: People lighten up their homes and decorate the floors with design patterns (rangoli) and clay lamps.

Day 3: This day usually marks the main day of the festival when people enjoy delicious meals and fireworks shortly after the Lakshmi Puja (a prayer to Goddess Lakshmi)

Day 4: Believed to be the first day of the New Year, this day is all about friends and family visiting each other with gifts.

Day 5: The last day of the festival is mostly observed by married sisters who welcome their brothers by preparing a lavish meal.

5. India Is Not the Only Country That Celebrates Diwali

While India is credited for the origin and history of the festival, Diwali is widely celebrated across the world; and, interestingly enough, not just by Hindus, Jains and Sikhs.

Outside of India, Leicester, a city in England, is known to host the biggest event for this festival of lights where people from all walks of life join the celebration. Furthermore, countries like Thailand, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Indonesia, Australia, Fiji, Canada and Pakistan are only some of the lot that facilitates celebrations in their land.

Related: Fascinating Facts about Indonesia

6. It’s One of the Rare Occasions Where Political Differences Are Set Aside

Despite being rivals for more than 70 years, India and Pakistan are known to set their differences aside on the occasion of Diwali. It’s usually marked by an exchange of sweets and souvenirs through the Wagah Border where soldiers from both sides deliver an expression of solidarity.

7. The History Goes Back to 2500 Years Ago

The festivities of Diwali

Did you know that the first ever Diwali was celebrated more than 2500 years ago? Roughly believed to be the Sixth Century BCE, it was the time that Jains today refer to as the final enlightenment of their spiritual leader, Mahavira.

Even though the way the festival is celebrated has vastly changed over the centuries, the common theme remains the same, good always overcomes evil.

8. For Sikhs, the Occasion Marks a Whole Different Event

Again, while the essence of Diwali is to celebrate the victory of good over evil, Sikhs across the world also refer to this day as “Bandi Chor Divas” or “The Day of Liberation.”

It’s believed that over 400 years ago, a prominent Sikh Guru Hargobind had returned to Amritsar after liberating himself and 52 other Hindu kings from unfair incarceration. Since then, the event also serves as a reminder of the perpetual Sikh-Hindu union for thousands of people across the world.

9. This Hindu Goddess Roams the Earth on Diwali

Have you ever wondered why Diwali is celebrated with so much fervor, flashy displays of colors, new clothes and flamboyant decorations? This is because people have long held the belief that Lakshmi, the Hindu Goddess of prosperity comes down on earth on this day and roams around the planet, blessing people with happiness and wealth on the way.

10. This Town In India Is By Far the Biggest Provider of Fireworks for Diwali

Sivakasi, a town nestled in South India is by far the biggest fireworks provider for the entire country. According to some recent revelations, it accounted for almost 90% of the entire fireworks market during the peak of its sales. Moreover, it still plays a key role in providing people with different Diwali essentials across India.

11. Fireworks Were Not Always Incorporated In the Celebration

Fireworks on diwali

It’s quite common for people to associate Diwali with the bursting of firecrackers, especially since that’s how the pop culture and the media profoundly like to represent it. However, fireworks are a fairly new addition to the way the event is celebrated by the masses.

It’s believed that the tradition was introduced in the 1900s and before that it was solely used by the royals since pyrotechnics and firecrackers were quite expensive at the time.

12. The Market for Firecrackers Is Enormous

Did you know that the market for firecrackers in India is much bigger than anywhere in the rest of the world, especially during the Diwali season? In fact, the cost of firecrackers alone is thought to add an estimated amount of one billion dollars to the Indian economy. While it is noteworthy that the festival is responsible for the livelihoods of millions in the country, the next fact may not be very amusing.

13. The Celebration Can Be Injurious to Health

Again, it may not exactly come under the umbrella of “fun facts” but people, over the last few years, have raised fingers over the excessive use of explosives that may be injurious to health. Others have also pointed out that the same amount of money could be used for other purposes like providing people with better healthcare facilities and education.

Fireworks, firecrackers and other similar items used during diwali are known to cause immense air pollution and several diseases, especially in densely populated cities such as Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata.

14. All Is Fair In Love and On Diwali

Speaking of astounding Diwali facts, let’s shed some light on the lesser known side of it. While many associate the occasion with purity and piety, some don’t mind bending the rules a bit and having their own fun with them.

Yes we’re talking about one of the most prominent North Indian traditions, playing cards and gambling. If there’s a day where the practice of gambling isn’t looked down upon by Indian families, it has to be diwali. In fact, surprisingly enough, both youngsters and elders of a family get together and take part in the activity, all in good spirit.

10 Surprising Facts About Diwali

If your thirst for knowledge hasn’t been quenched yet, here’s a video that may help you out. Learn more about the history, traditions and contemporary ways to celebrate the auspicious occasion of Diwali by watching the following video:

Summary

As one of the most significant events of the Hindu tradition, Diwali is a five-day long festival of lights. From fireworks and candles to colored sand and good food, there’s something to resonate with for everybody. Even though there are various interpretations and stories associated with it, the common theme for people celebrating in any corner of the world is the same: good triumphs over evil and will continue to do so.

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