Diwali, also known as Divali or Deepawali, is a festival celebrated over five days in many parts by people of different faiths including many Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, Muslims and Buddhists.

It is often referred to as the festival of lights for the bold light shows and fireworks that are used to commemorate the occasion.

Last year’s festivities were scaled back due to the coronavirus pandemic, so this year, people will be hoping to return to full, dazzling form.

Read on to find out more about Diwali 2021, including when it starts and how people celebrate.

When is Diwali 2021?

Diwali takes place over five days with the main festival day falling on Thursday, November 4.

How is Diwali celebrated? Traditions and meanings

Those celebrating the festival will typically decorate their homes with lights and Rangolis, elaborate patterns made out of materials including rice, coloured sand and flowers.

There are usually big celebrations in big towns and cities across the world, where there will be fireworks, light displays, dancing and food – although gatherings will be strictly off-limits in the UK and in many other countries across the world.

One of the most popular dishes to eat in Diwali is called Lapsi Halwa, and is made from cracked wheat, cooked with ghee and sweetened with sugar and cardamom.

The Five Days of Diwali

Typically, the five days of Diwali are celebrated as follows:

Day one: People clean their homes and shop for gold or kitchen utensils to help bring good fortune.

Day two: People decorate their homes with clay lamps and create design patterns called rangoli on the floor using coloured powders or sand.

Day three: On the main day of the festival, families gather together for Lakshmi puja, a prayer to Goddess Lakshmi, followed by mouth-watering feasts and firework festivities.

Day four: This is the first day of the new year, when friends and relatives visit with gifts and best wishes for the season.

Day five: Brothers visit their married sisters (or other family members in general, in modern days) who welcome them with love and a lavish meal.

What do people eat during Diwali?

Diwali is a time for feasting with family and enjoying plenty of sweet treats. One popular delicacy is kaju katli, a fudge-like sweet made with ground cashews and sugar, and sometimes flavoured with rose water.

Sweet fried bread is another popular Diwali dish.

Quotes to celebrate Diwali

If you’re wondering what to say on Diwali, a simple ‘happy Diwali’ will do the trick, but there are other Diwali wishes you can say.

A traditional Diwali greeting is to say ‘wishing you a Diwali that brings happiness prosperity and joy to you and all your family.’

You can also wish: ‘May your life be as colourful, shimmering and magical as the lights of Diwali.’

Another can be: ‘May every aspect of your life be as luminous and wonderful as the lights on the lamps of Diwali.

MORE : When is Diwali and what is Ramayana, the story behind the Hindu festival of lights?