While Diwali is overwhelmingly celebrated in India, it is also enjoyed by millions of people around the world. As a result, the celebration has advanced and adapted to nearby traditions and conventions in different nations, making it a really worldwide celebration. In this blog, we are going explore seven Diwali traditions from distinctive parts of the world, highlighting the assorted ways in which people commemorate this favorable occasion.
Diwali in India
Diwali in India is an extravagant affair that typically lasts for five days. Each day of Diwali has its own significance and traditions:
Day 1 – Dhanteras: The first day of Diwali, known as Dhanteras, is dedicated to the worship of Lord Dhanvantari, the god of health and well-being. People buy new utensils, jewelry, and other items on this day to bring prosperity into their homes.
Day 2 – Naraka Chaturdashi (Choti Diwali): On this day, people wake up before dawn to perform an oil bath and cleanse themselves.
Day 3 – Diwali: The third day is the main Diwali festival, celebrated with the lighting of oil lamps (diyas), bursting of fireworks, and exchanging gifts. People decorate their homes with rangoli (colorful designs), and families gather for a special feast.
Day 4 – Govardhan Puja: This day is dedicated to the worship of Lord Krishna and the Govardhan Hill. Devotees create miniature hillocks from cow dung and worship them.
Day 5 – Bhai Dooj: The last day of Diwali is dedicated to the bond between brothers and sisters. Sisters pray for the well-being of their brothers and perform aarti for their prosperity.
Diwali in Nepal
In Nepal, Diwali, known as Tihar or Deepawali, is celebrated with its own unique customs. It lasts for five days as well, and each day has its own significance:
Day 1 – Kaag Tihar: On this day, crows are considered messengers of Yama, the god of death, and are worshipped with offerings of food.
Day 2 – Kukur Tihar: Dogs, known as the guardians of Yama, are worshipped on this day. They are adorned with flower garlands, vermillion paste, and a tika (a mark on the forehead).
Day 3 – Gai Tihar and Laxmi Puja: On this day, cows and oxen, considered sacred in Hinduism, are worshipped. In the evening, Goddess Laxmi, the goddess of wealth, is worshipped with lamps and offerings.
Day 4 – Goru Tihar and Govardhan Puja: Cows and oxen are revered again on this day. Additionally, Govardhan Puja is observed to commemorate Lord Krishna lifting the Govardhan Hill.
Day 5 – Bhai Tika: Similar to the Indian Bhai Dooj, this day celebrates the bond between brothers and sisters. Sisters put a tika on their brothers’ foreheads and offer them sweets and gifts.
Diwali in Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago is home to a significant population of Indo-Trinidadians and Tobagonians, and Diwali is celebrated with great enthusiasm. The celebrations include lighting diyas, visiting temples, and sharing traditional Indian sweets. One unique aspect of Diwali in Trinidad and Tobago is the grand Nagar Yatra, a procession featuring elaborate floats, music, and dance, which attracts both Hindus and non-Hindus alike.
Diwali in Malaysia
In Malaysia, Diwali, known as Deepavali, is a public holiday celebrated by Hindus and non-Hindus alike. The celebration involves lighting oil lamps, decorating homes, and visiting temples. An interesting Malaysian Diwali tradition is the practice of preparing ‘Kolam’ or ‘Rangoli’ patterns using colored rice, flour, or flower petals in front of homes. People also send gifts online and enjoy traditional Indian sweets like murukku and laddu.
Diwali in Singapore
Singapore, with its diverse population, celebrates Diwali as a public holiday. Little India, a vibrant neighborhood in Singapore, is beautifully decorated with colorful lights and decorations during the Diwali season. The streets come alive with cultural performances, traditional Indian cuisine, and a bustling night market. Singaporeans from all backgrounds join in the festivities, making it a truly multicultural celebration.
Diwali in Fiji
Fiji has a significant Indian population, and Diwali is celebrated with much fervor. The celebrations in Fiji include lighting lamps, visiting temples, and sharing Diwali sweets and gifts. An interesting tradition in Fiji is the preparation of ‘Roti Prata,’ a type of Indian flatbread, which is served with a variety of curries during Diwali. The festival serves as a unifying force in Fiji, bringing people of different backgrounds together to celebrate.
Diwali in the United Kingdom
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The United Kingdom is home to a large Indian diaspora, and Diwali is celebrated in several cities, with Leicester hosting one of the biggest Diwali celebrations outside of India. The Leicester Diwali Lights Switch-On event is a grand spectacle, featuring music, dance, and a colorful parade. The festivities attract people from various cultural backgrounds, fostering unity and celebrating diversity.
As Diwali continues to spread its warmth and light around the world, it reinforces the message that the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness is a universal and timeless theme that transcends borders and cultures.