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The Llewellyn Encyclopedia

Term: Diwali

DEFINITIONS

Diwali:

A Hindu and Tantric holiday primarily celebrated in India and by Indian expatriots. Using the Indian calendar, it can start in late September or in October and lasts for five days ending in October or as late as early November. Also known as Divali or Deepavali, it has varying significance to people across India. However, one of the most common practices is the use of an increasing number of small lamps known as Diyas, indicating the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness. It may have been associated with the astronomical winter solstice thousands of years ago, so this practice may have indicated the concept of the return of light, giving a reason this celebration is also known as the “Festival of Lights.” Possibly a source of the Jewish Hanukkah.




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