Lighting Up For Diwali, the Indian Christmas in October

Diwali or Deepavali – otherwise known as the Festival of Lights or ‘row of lights’ – is an important event in the Indian calendar. Here’s a little more about Diwali or Deepavali and where you can celebrate it around the country.

Diwali, the Indian Christmas

Diwali takes place every year on the 15th day of Kartika, the eighth month in the Hindu calendar, and lasts for around five days.

  • The ‘official’ Diwali day is usually the third day of celebrations and is somewhat equivalent to both Christmas and New Year’s rolled into one!
  • Festivals and other events are held to honour Rama-chandra, the seventh incarnation of the god, Vishnu, who defeated the evil god, Ravana, and returned to his people after 14 years of exile.
  • During Diwali, people decorate their homes and businesses with lights, clay lamps and candles to signify the victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance.
  • Dancing, singing, stalls, shops, light displays, workshops and fireworks also often make up Diwali celebrations.

Diwali Events in Australia

With almost 300,000 Hindus living in Australia (and around 390,000 Australians of Indian descent), Diwali is an important festival throughout the country and has been celebrated here for over 15 years.

Down Under, Diwali/Deepavali festivities generally take place throughout the entire month and can even stretch into November.

What can you do to celebrate Diwali or Deepavali in 2016?

  • For those in Sydney, head to Martin Place on October 13th or Parramatta Park on October 23rd. Both events are family friendly, free to attend and will include performances, food stalls, fireworks and a Ravana Effigy Burning. A Diwali celebration will also take place at the Blacktown Showgrounds on October 16th.
  • In Adelaide, you can attend the Diwali Festival at the Gaza Sports and Community Club in Klemzig on October 16th from 12pm. There is also a Bollywood Diwali Cruise Night taking place on October 28th.
  • In Melbourne and Victoria, several Diwali/Deepavali events will be held in Mernda (October 15th), Epping (October 16th, with singer Mika Singh), Wyndham (October 22nd), Sandown Racecourse (October 23rd), Melbourne (October 29th, Cruise Night), Dandenong (October 30th), and Ashburton Hall (November 5th).
  • If you’re in Canberra or close to it, celebrate Diwali on November 6th at Lennox Gardens in Yarralumla from 11am. Performances will also be held at Albert Hall nearby.
  • Planning on celebrating in Brisbane? Head to Rocklea Showgrounds on October 2nd for the Diwali Festival or hang out until October 21st for the Festival of Lights at King George Square.
  • Whether you live in or will be visiting Perth, you can join the Diwali Mela event on October 15th at HBF Arena or party with performer Mika Singh on October 23rd.

How Else Can You Get Into the Diwali Spirit?

If you’re keen on fully enjoying the Diwali celebrations or learning more about this important Indian holiday, you can:

  • Decorate your house with clay lamps and lights
  • Paint your hands or face with henna tattoos
  • Sample a variety of Indian sweets, the food most often associated with Diwali
  • Volunteer at a festival or event

We hope you enjoy this year’s celebrations!

Places: Australia