Deepavali is one of the biggest celebrations that celebrate the festival of lights. People celebrate Deepavali as a festival representing the beginnings and the victory of good over evil, thus having light as the celebration’s central symbol. It means the light that took over the dark.
The name Diwali came from two other words that are Avali, which means a series or line, and Deepa, which means a traditional lamp. With both words combined, it would mean a series of traditional lamps or a standard lamps line.
How Do People Celebrate Diwali?
Singapore is a country that is multicultural, with Indians making up to 7.4% of its total population. Deepavali is considered one of few big occasions, and is marked as a public holiday. On this day, a part of Singapore called Little India is usually packed with people celebrating Diwali.
Diwali celebration in Singapore is usually held in Little India with a lot of decorations in front of the stores, and people wearing traditional Indian dresses to hold prayers to thank the divine with their family and friends.
Furthermore, a lot of people will go and visit famous places in Singapore with their family like Clarke Quay, Singapore Zoo, Sentosa Island and Gardens by the Bay.
Much like Singapore, there are a lot of Indians who reside in Malaysia. Although Hinduism is not a big community in Malaysia, Diwali is still considered their public holiday. There is also an area called Little India where a lot of people will be celebrating. Unfortunately, firecrackers are prohibited in Malaysia so people celebrate this special occasion by exchanging gifts and wishes.
On this special day, ethnic Hindus go to temples where they would send prayers and worship the divine. In Malaysia, Deepavali is better known as Hari Diwali.
The biggest Diwali celebration outside of India is known to be held in Leicester, England. Not only Leicester, but many other cities in England also celebrate Deepavali where a lot of women wear pretty traditional dresses and jewelry.
People in England celebrate Diwali with music and performances and would end the day with amazing fireworks. Although in England they do not light up traditional clay lamps, they still put up thousands of lights and many rangolis to celebrate the festival of lights.
In Nepal, Diwali celebration is better known as Tihar and is celebrated with some slight differences than in India. It is better known as a celebration to pay respect to Lord Ganesha and Lord Lakshmi.
What makes it different in Nepal is the second day of Diwali is dedicated to pay respect to dogs by preparing them mouthwatering food. Also, they dedicate the fourth day to pray for Lord Yama, the God of Death which is different compared to India who celebrates the fourth day known as Lakshmi Puja.
Mauritius’s population consists of many ethnic Hindus which cover over fifty-percent of its total population. Thus, Diwali celebration is so massive that you would feel like you are in India.
Just like in Malaysia and Singapore, Diwali in Mauritius is a public holiday where families and friends can visit one another to celebrate Diwali together. People often exchange greetings and gifts, with a lot of fireworks to light up the mood and festive vibe.
Why is Deepavali Called the Festival of Light?
One common and logical idea is that because during this day, people who celebrate Diwali burn traditional lamps to brighten up the festival. Therefore, calling it the festival of lights.
Moreover, this festival is held to also celebrate the new year, according to Hinduism. Recent years are when people mark new beginnings, just like a sun rising at the beginning of the day. People welcome this long-awaited day with lights and firecrackers, which will also light up the celebration. Thus it is called the festival of lights.
In northern India, the festival of lights is celebrated to represent King Rama’s tale of returning back to Ayodhya after lighting up lines of traditional clay lamps to conquer the Demon King, Ravana.
Whereas in southern India, people celebrate Deepavali to commemorate Lord Krishna’s victory after defeating monster Narakasura that symbolizes evil. According to the meaning of celebration from a different Indian region, we can see that it is always a story about the good defeating evil. Therefore it is called the festival of lights as the lights of the traditional lamps symbolize the good.
Beautiful Deepavali Hampers and Gifts
As we all know now, people also celebrate Diwali by giving relatives and friends gifts. Though it is most prevalent in India, the festival of lights is also a big celebration in Leicester, England, also known to be one of the biggest hosts of the Deepavali celebration outside India. Furthermore, the Diwali celebration is prevalent in Singapore, and it is marked as one of Singapore’s National Holidays as they have a very diverse population. A lot of them are from India.
It is a tradition to give sweets as Diwali gifts, and the festival would not be complete without some sugar to fill your stomach. Dry fruits are also great Diwali gift ideas as they are comfortable and can be stored for quite a long time.
Nowadays, hampers and well-packaged gifts are very popular because of celebration gift ideas, Diwali hampers are one of them. If you celebrate Diwali and are stuck with what gifts to give to your relatives, consider buying Deepavali hampers containing many sweets, snacks, and a bottle of drinks. You can find beautiful Diwali hampers here in FlowerAdvisor and get them greeting cards together with it.
What Is The Difference Between Diwali and Deepavali?
What is the difference between Diwali and Deepavali? Both names are similar festivals and contain the same meaning, just with different pronunciation and spelling. Deepavali means row of lights according to Sanskirt, with the word Avali meaning series or rows, and Deepa meaning clay lamp. In Northern India, people use the word Diwali as the name more, compared to Southern Indians where Deepavali is better known.
What Are The Five Days of Deepavali?
Diwali is the biggest and most anticipated festival, especially in India. It is also held as the Indian New Year based on Hinduism and held five days straight. People celebrate Diwali together with family as they believe it will strengthen their relationships with each other. Each day of the Diwali festival has its meaning and story behind it.
Day 1 – Dhanteras, Dhanatrayodashi, Yama Deepam
The first day of celebration, Dhanteras, Dhanatrayodashi, Yama Deepam, people will decorate their houses with traditional clay lamps and Rangoli. Rangoli is a decoration made from colorful rice, flour, and sand organized to create a unique design pattern. This day marks the emergence of Dhanvantari from the ocean.
Day 2 – Naraka Chaturdashi, Kali Chaudas, Chhoti Diwali, Hanuman Puja
The second day is known as Naraka Chaturdashi, Kali Chaudas, Chhoti Diwali, Hanuman Puja. This day is to commemorate the victory of Khrisna, Satyabhama and Kali, over the demon king Narakasura. People celebrate Naraka Chaturdashi with the belief that it will help get rid of laziness, evil, and negativities from them.
Also, Kali Chaudas still sticks to the first idea of Diwali celebration which is the festival of harvest. Therefore, rituals are performed with oil and snacks made from half-cooked rice are offered.
Day 3 – Lakshmi Pujan, Kali Puja
The primary day of the festival lies on the third day. Families would gather to celebrate this festive day together and prepare feasts that would even be enough to feed the whole kingdom. Like every other celebration in the world, it is a tradition to light up firecrackers to bring up the festive mood. The primary day is Lakshmi Pujan, Kali Puja, a day to dedicate a prayer to Lord Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha.
Day 4 – Annakut, Balipratipada (Padwa), Govardhan Puja
The fourth day is the start of a new year. Families and friends would visit each other while bringing gifts and wishes to trade with each other. Some people would also offer sweets to kids and younger relatives. This day also represents the day demon king Bali is defeated by Lord Vishnu.
As the name suggests, people worship mountain Govardhan on this day. Believers would build a mountain of cow droppings and durva with flowers inserted inside. Then they will arrange and worship images of cows, Lord Indra and Shrikrushna.
Day 5 – Bhai Duj, Bhau-Beej, Vishwakarma Puja
On the last day, it is the day to celebrate the bonds of sisters and brothers in India. Sisters who are married would prepare meals and welcome their brothers to their homes to celebrate best wishes and honor their relationships and strengthen their bonds.
Rituals are also performed by the sister by praying for the well being of their brothers. Then they would feed their brothers and give them gifts.
Popular Food To Eat On Deepavali
1. Gulab Jamun
This popular food can be found since the middle age of India. Much like a donut, it is made from flour and milk with curds mixed together and rolled into a ball shape.
Finally it would be deep fried and coated with rose water that has a very nice fragrance. This is a savoury Diwali snack that people would not want to miss.
Samosa is a traditional food that can be found almost anywhere in India. It looks like a sweet fried dumpling that has minced meat and some vegetables inside. Shaped into a triangle or half sphere, and then dropped into a pool of hot oil for a couple of minutes.
This traditional Indian snack is really nice to enjoy especially during special occasions like Deepavali where families cook and share gifts and food with one another.
Mithai is a bundle of traditional desserts and sweets which play an important role during Diwali celebrations. It contains fried snacks and other sweets made of sugar that are delicious enough to be eaten by itself.
It has been a tradition on Deepavali to exchange mithai that are decorated in a beautiful box with either your family or close friends. It is believed that by doing this your relationships with one another will be strengthened.
Extremely popular among all other traditional snacks in India, Lapsi is usually consumed during the beginning of Deepavali week celebration. It is made from grains of wheat mixed with traditional Indian butter called Ghee, some sugar and cardamom powder.
Often found in mithais, barfi looks like fudge that is made from a mixture of sugar, condensed milk and nuts. Put aside after cooking until it hardens and then is shaped into bite-sized pieces. This sweet snack can be eaten on its own or enjoyed with some other savoury meals to balance the sweetness.
Best Gift Ideas for Choti Diwali and Dhanteras
1. Pooja Thali
Every Indian family serves pooja thali which they would conduct pooja with, a ritual and tradition that involves small offerings when praying. You can get your friends and family a pretty and complete pooja thali set to perform pooja together.
2. Deepavali Hampers
As we all know, hampers are now common to be given as a gift, yet it still brings special appreciation to someone it is given to. Deepavali hampers may include traditional snacks, chocolates and some drinks, that are great gift ideas. You can then celebrate and enjoy the snacks and drink together with your family that came in the Deepavali hampers.
You might be wondering where are places that you can find Deepavali hampers at. Do not worry, we are here to help solve your problems! You do not have to even step out of your house, because you can just order Deepavali hampers online from FlowerAdvisor and the gifts will be sent right in front of your doorstep.
3. Chocolate Gifts
Chocolate may be one of the delicious foods that came down from heaven. It is also one of the snacks that you must not miss during Dhanteras. A box of chocolates is an amazing gift for your family and friends during this festive celebration.
Not only Deepavali hampers, you can also find chocolate boxes in FlowerAdvisor. With just simple clicks, you could make someone’s day even better. Not only that, with boxes of chocolates, Dhanteras might become one of the greatest festivals you could ever celebrate.
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