With the end of the blazing summer months in India, the cool autumn breeze brings a hint of excitement and liveliness into our lives.
Families enthusiastically cleaning around the house, marketplaces brimming with people, big boxes of crackers and sweets, homes and local streets adorned with beautiful lights - Do you know what that means? Yes, you're right- the famous festival of Lights, Diwali, is just around the corner!
So, with Diwali just about a month away, you must be wondering about the exact dates and details of this famous festival. Well, you are at the right place! Keep reading to find everything you need to know about Diwali 2023.
Important Dates and Timing of Diwali 2024
The Date of the Diwali celebration each year is determined by the ancient Indian Hindu calendar. Diwali lies on the 15th day of Kartik (the eighth month of the Hindu calendar), on the day of Amavasya, or No Moon Day.
This year, 2024, Diwali is set to be celebrated on Friday, NOV 1st in India
A symbolic display of triumph over darkness and goodness over evil, this enchanting festival is celebrated all across India, regardless of religion or caste, surpassing national borders to engage in this joyous festivity.
In 2024, the Amavasya Tithi is on 31st October from 15:55 PM IST till 6:15 PM on 1st November. During Deepavali, Hindus worship the goddess of wealth and prosperity, Devi Lakshmi, in their houses. This year, the auspicious Lakshmi Muharat is on 31 October , from 06:47 PM to 08:21 PM .
Typically, Diwali is considered one of the most important festivals for the Hindu community and also for the whole of India. This luminous Indian festival lasts for five days-
29th October, 2024
31st October, 2024
1st November, 2024
Pratipada - Padwa
2nd November, 2024
Dwitiya - Bhai Duj
2nd November, 2024
Historical and religious significance of Diwali
Like every other Indian Festival, the history of Diwali also intertwines with different legends and stories from various regions and cultures.
The most widely known historical reference to Diwali comes from the Hindu epic Ramayana- which says that Diwali is to honor the return of Lord Rama (considered Lord Vishnu's seventh avatar), Sita, Lakshman, and Hanuman ji to Ayodhya after a 14-year exile upon defeating the demon king Ravana.
Another Hindu legend talks about the victory of Lord Krishna and his wife Satyabhama, who defeated and killed the demon Narakasura, who terrorized the world - the symbolic victory of goodness over evil.
In the Jain community, Diwali is a celebration to mark the day of spiritual awakening and final attainment of Nirvana by Lord Mahavira, the 24th Tirthankara of Jainism.
In Sikhism, the Sikhs celebrate Diwali 2023 in remembrance of the release of Guru Hargobind Ji, the sixth Sikh Guru, who had been imprisoned in the Gwalior Fort Prison under the reign of Mughal Emperor Jahangir. Celebrated as "Bandi Chor Divas," Sikhs celebrate the day by lighting lamps and offering community prayers and festivities.
5-Day Celebrations of Diwali 2024
Diwali festivities take place over five days, celebrated all over India with great vigor and joy, with each day having its own significance and tradition.
Diwali Celebrations Day 1: Dhanteras (October 29th, 2024)
Diwali celebrations in India begin with Dhanteras ( also called Dhanvantari Trayodashi.) People start cleaning and sweeping around their houses.
This cleaning in Hindu culture signifies the removal of negativity and welcoming positive energy and blessings of Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Kuber to bring prosperity and good fortune into their houses. Dhanteras is considered a lucky day to purchase gold, silver, and new kitchen items.
Diwali Celebrations Day 2: Choti Diwali ( October 31st, 2024)
The second day of the festival is considered the Naraka Chaturdashi.
On this day, people begin their day at daybreak, take holy oil bathes, and wear new clothes to carry out religious ceremonies. People start decorating their homes with string lights, making Rangolis on the floors of their houses, and lighting traditional oil lamps or diyas in the evening.
Diwali Celebrations Day 3: Diwali and Lakshmi Puja (November 1st, 2024)
The third day, Deepavali or Diwali, is the main event of the 5-day festival, also referred to as the "Festival of Lights."
On this auspicious day, people worship Goddess Lakshmi in their homes or temples. It is customary to meet friends and family and exchange sweets and gifts. The houses and streets brighten up with Diyas, lamps, and colorful lighting, and youngsters have a gala time bursting firecrackers and light fireworks.
Diwali Celebrations Day 4: Padwa & Govardhan Puja (November 2nd, 2024)
The fourth day of Diwali 2023 is celebrated differently across the country. In Gujarat and other western states, people celebrate this day as Bestu Varas, which marks the beginning of a New Year in their religion. Friends and relatives buy gifts and visit each other, wishing everyone health and happiness.
In many Northern states, people commemorate the day by worshipping the Govardhan Parvat. It's the day Lord Krishna lifted the Govardhan Mountain to save villagers from Indra's wrath and rainstorm. Since then, many people have used cow dung to make a small hillock, symbolizing the mountain, and worship it.
The Govardhan Puja also highlights the significance of environmental sustainability and conservation.
Padwa is an occasion to celebrate the beautiful, strong bond between a husband and a wife. Husbands generally buy gifts for their wives on this occasion.
Diwali Celebrations Day 5: Bhai Dooj (November 2nd, 2024)
Bhai Dooj is celebrated on the last day of Diwali 2024 to commemorate the loving bond between brothers and sisters.
On this day, a sister prays for her brother's health and happiness, whereas the brother buys her gifts and vows to protect her from all evil.
Is Diwali celebrated as a public holiday?
The day of Diwali 2024 is marked as a national holiday on various calendars. However, depending on the different states, the holiday date may vary. In some regions, people even take a whole week off to prepare for the festival with their friends and families.
Generally, most banks, restaurants, and businesses remain closed on the primary day of the festival. However, public transportation remains available as most people use it to visit their friends and family.
Diwali Festival Dates From 2024 to 2030
In India, we mainly use the lunar calendar to check the date of the Diwali Festival. Although the dates change every year, it generally falls between late October and November.
Below is a list of the dates of the primary day of Diwali from 2023 to 2030. However, the festival begins two days before and ends two days after the day!
Friday, November 1
Tuesday, October 21
Sunday, November 8
Friday, October 29
Tuesday, October 17
Monday, November 5
Saturday, October 26
How is Diwali celebrated in different parts of the country?
In South India, specifically Tamil Nadu, the celebration of Deepavali involves Ayurvedic medicines and the performance of certain ritual ceremonies to propitiate the ancestors.
However, there are some places in South India such as in Kerala where Diwali is not celebrated. In Kerala, people worship Asura Mahabali, the lord and demon of the state. It's believed that he died on the day of the festival. This belief serves as a big reason for not celebrating Diwali in Kerala.
Another reason is the rainy weather of the state that continues during October and November, which makes it impossible to light diyas and burn firecrackers.
Goa and West India
In western India, including Goa, Narak Chaturdashi is celebrated a day before the primary day. People from these regions believe that Diwali is the celebration of the win against an evil demon, Narakasura, by Lord Krishna and Goddess Durga.
Here, you'll find people burning the statues of the demon and marching through the streets.
Varanasi celebrates Dev Diwali almost 15 days after the festival (November 26, 2023). It's believed to be the 'Festival of Lights for the Gods,' when all Gods visit the holy Ganga River in Varanasi. The festival falls on the full moon day, Kartik Purnima.
The celebration begins with the chanting of Vedic mantras and prayers by the priests of the Ganga Ghats. People light several diyas and place them on the steps of the ghats to welcome the Gods and Goddesses.
West Bengal, Assam, and Orissa
Across India, you'll find people worshipping Goddess Lakshmi on the day of Diwali. However, in most eastern states, including West Bengal, people worship the Goddess of Destruction, Maa Kali.
Several majestic statues of the Goddess adorn the beautiful pandals scattered all across the state. Moreover, many people visit the pandals to worship and make offerings.
In Punjab, Sikhs celebrate the day as Bandi Chhor Divas to commemorate the release of Guru Hargobind, the sixth guru of Sikhism, from unfair imprisonment.
We recommend people visit the historic Golden Temple to participate in the Sikh-style celebrations of Diwali!
Gujarat and Rajasthan
In Gujarat, Rajasthan, and some parts of Maharashtra, people celebrate the day as Jain Diwali. It's believed that Diwali is when Lord Mahavir attained Nirvana, meaning freedom from the continuous cycle of death and rebirth.
FAQs About Diwali 2024
Q1. Which countries celebrate Diwali as a national holiday?
Ans. In addition to India, many other countries have declared the festival of lights, Diwali, a national holiday. These include Nepal, Malaysia, Singapore, the Pennsylvania state of the US, and Fiji.
Q2. Does the date of Diwali remain the same every year?
Ans. The festival of Diwali falls on different dates each year as it's celebrated in Kartik Month, on the new moon day. This year, Diwali falls on Friday, November 2.
Q3. How long do we celebrate Diwali?
Ans. In India, the celebration of Diwali continues for five days, starting from the day of Dhanteras Puja and ending on Bhai Dooj.
In the end, Diwali 2024 is all about celebrating the defeat of evil and the happiness of being together with friends and family. This Diwali, may everyone win against the demons in their lives and light the lamps of peace and prosperity!