Derived from Sanskrit, Deepavali translates to ‘rows of lighted lamps’ and represents knowledge over ignorance or more accurately the victory of light over darkness. It was believed that Diwali is celebrated in honour of the day Lord Rama won a battle against the demon king. Thus symbolising hope over despair. Interestingly there are different variations to the story depending on the various religions and deities they pray to.

Similar to Christmas, Lunar New Year, and Hari Raya, this religious holiday gathers friends and families together for an elaborate feast which spans over a period of five days. (The official celebration for Diwali is on the third day.) It’s also particularly similar to Hari Raya in a sense that the actual dates for both are determined by the position of the moon. However unlike the muslim holiday, eventhough the dates defer every year Deepavali will usually occur between October to November. It is also a favourite amongst children thanks to the lights, fireworks, and sweets involved. Are there any other fun facts about Deepavali to help prepare you for the festivities? We gathered five lesser known facts about the festival of lights that may be of interest:

Kolam or Rangoli
Something you might have noticed decorating the malls around the same time every year is the kolam or rangoli. Large and colourful depictions of peacocks, birds, mandalas, and flower petals are common sights. A symbol of good luck and prosperity, this Indian folk art is made from rice flour dyed with food colouring. It is often placed at the entrance of a home. The complexity of the design has also been said to trap negativity in the air preventing it from entering the home during this auspicious period. Though once reserved for female folk, kolam is now done by both female and male family members.

Bhai Dooj
The last day of Deepavali is dedicated to celebrate siblings particularly the relationship between sisters and brothers. Sisters would invite their brothers for a delicious meal made up of their favourite dishes. The custom also includes sisters painting a mark on their brothers’ foreheads as a sign of good fortune. This whole ceremony not only signifies the blessings sisters bestow on their brothers but also symbolises a brother’s duty to protect his sister.

Gift Exchange
The exchange of gifts and sweets between friends and family is an integral part of this religious holiday, making this another similarity to Christmas. Sweets such as a warm fudge-like delicacy called Sheera are traditionally consumed.

Cleanliness Is Next To Godliness
Before Diwali, thorough spring cleaning is done in all homes. This is to welcome the Goddess of Wealth into their houses so that she blesses them with happiness and riches on the eve of the festival.

Gambling Is  Encouraged
Card playing and gambling with money is a tradition during Deepavali as it’s believed to bring luck and prosperity. Youngsters and elders all enjoy this fun activity together. Teen Patti which is similar to poker and rummy are two such games that are played during the celebrations.

SOCIAL MEDIA POST 3:  Deepavali, Diwali, or otherwise known as the festival of lights is celebrated by Hindus all over the world. It marks the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness, and the lifting of spiritual darkness. Besides being an ultra colourful and tummy-filling religious event, what are some lesser known facts about this special Indian holiday?