When is Diwali?

Diwali, also known as Deepawali, is a five day-long festival celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and some Buddhists. It takes place every autumn between October and November, with the date changing every year. 

When is Diwali in 2020?

In 2020, Diwali falls on Saturday 14 November (it may be observed a day earlier in south India)

The Diwali story

Diwali represents new beginnings and the victory of light over darkness, good over evil. It is the triumph of righteousness; knowledge in place of ignorance. This five-day festival and its rituals vary by region, although more often than not it concurs with the new moon (amāsvasya).

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It is likely that the Diwali is a fusion of harvest festivals in India, dating back more than 2,500 years. It is mentioned in multiple ancient texts such as the Padma Purana and the Skanda Purana.

In some parts of India, Diwali is associated with Rama, the seventh avatar of Vishnu, while in others it is linked with Krishna, another incarnation of Vishnu.

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Diwali dates 2020-2021

2019  From Sunday 27 October 
2020 From Saturday 14 November 
2021  From Thursday 4 November 

Watch Diwali stories

Join Deaf storyteller Deepa Shastri as she tells the stories of Diwali in British Sign Language. The video includes voiceover interpretation and captions.

How is Diwali celebrated?

The main celebrations occur on the third day of Diwali, the darkest day of the month, coinciding with the Hindu lunisolar calendar. Goddess of fortune, prosperity and wealth, Lakshmi is the primary deity worshiped during Diwali.

In the lead-up to Diwali, celebrants prepare by cleaning and decorating temples, as well as their homes and workplaces. These are brightly illuminated with candles and oil lamps, and devotional offers (puja) are made. They also often wash themselves with water and fragrant oils, and wear adornments and new, fine clothes. 

Families usually organise feasts in which sweets (mithai) and gifts are shared. Many cities, towns and villages set off fireworks in the evening and hold fairs (melas).

Diwali is a public holiday in India. Banks and government offices are closed, and businesses and shops may be closed or have reduced opening hours. 

(Main image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)