How to Celebrate Diwali: Sharing 5 Days of Joy

Published October 27, 2021
Diwali plate of sweets diyas money kumkum and haldi

If you are not familiar with Diwali, be ready to be fascinated by this magnificent five-day festival that millions of people celebrate. It's a festival to celebrate the triumph of good over evil and light over dark filled with worship and extravagant feasts. Be inspired by a different culture and its unique customs and traditions. Learn how to celebrate Diwali with loved ones by adding your own spin to this amazing festival.

Five Days of Joy

Diwali is a five-day religious festival, also known as the Festival of Lights celebrated in October or November by not only Hindus, but also by Sikhs, Jains, and Buddhists. Bring Diwali to your home to celebrate life with family and friends while enjoying exquisite food, drinks and gift exchanges.


diwali diya oil lamps

It is the first day of Diwali. On this day, people worship Goddess Lakshmi for good fortune, hence the custom of purchasing jewelry and utensils in silver, copper, and brass. Families purify and decorate their houses by leaving rows of lamps (diyas) by their entryways and balconies.

  • Host a Diwali inspired get-together and incorporate exotic elements, candles, lanterns and tea lights into your decor.
  • Purify, de-clutter, and deep clean your house to remove impurities before welcoming family and friends.

Naraka Chaturdashi

woman lighting diyas during diwali

On the second of Diwali, people celebrate the victory of Lord Krishna over the wicked demon king Narakasur. People visit family and friends to exchange gifts and sweets. Families neatly decorate their floors with rangolis. Rangoli is an intricate art form, typically created on the floor using sand, flower petals, rice flour, lentils, and beans.

  • Embrace the second day of Diwali by purchasing small gifts, such as mini dried fruit jars, boxes of chocolate, scented candles or even jewelry to exchange with friends.
  • Invite friends to create their own rangolis and make sure you have materials on hand, such as flower petals, sand, rice powder, and chalk.

Lakshmi Puja

box of Indian sweets

The third day is considered the main day of Diwali celebration. Clay oil lamps, or diyas, are lit to worship the goddess Lakshmi. On this day, families dress up in brand new clothes to enjoy spectacular fireworks and an amazing feast, which includes main course dishes, savory snacks, such as samosas--triangle shaped pastries filled with vegetables, minced meat, peas and lentils. They also enjoy lots of sweets mithai (sweet meats) including laddoos (mini balls made with chickpea flour, oil, sugar, nuts, and barfi (fudge squares made with condensed milk, sugar, and nuts).

  • Invite family and friends to celebrate the third day of Diwali at your house and encourage them to dress to impress in bright colorful clothes and jelwery. Bright outfits signify the light of Lakshmi.
  • Treat your guests to a charcuterie board filled with traditional Diwali snacks and sweets including samosas, laddoos, barfi, masala roasted cashews, batata vada, falafel, and other authentic Diwali snacks and sweets. You can serve refreshing lemonade (nimbu pani) or any other non-alcoholic drinks of your choice. Keep the menu plant-based for an authentic and intentional celebration.

Govardhan Puja

prize cow in India

It is the day when Lord Krishna defeated Indra by lifting the huge Govardhan Mountain. On this fourth day, a big vegetarian feast is prepared for Puja and a "mountain" of delicacies is offered in gratitude. It's a day to worship cows. As a ritual, people decorate cows for the festival by painting their horns and writing on their bodies.

You don't necessarily need to create an "altar" or arrange several dishes in the form of a mountain, but if you would like to experiment with one of Diwali's traditional vegetarian dishes, Annakoot ki Sabzi is a great choice if you and family enjoy eating lots of vegetables. Annakoot ki Sabzi is a simple mixed vegetable dish, typically prepared using 56 different ingredients.

Bhaiya Dooj

Indian couple Diwali tradition

The last day of Diwali is all about celebrating the brother and sister bond. It's tradition for brothers to visit and bring gifts to their sisters, who honor them with rituals for good fortune and good health.

Celebrate the last day of Diwali by spending quality time with your siblings. Consider inviting your brother or sister and relatives to play Teen Patti, which is one of the most popular games played on Diwali nights and it is associated with family gatherings. In South Asia, people believe playing Teen Patti during Diwali festival, it will bring them wealth and progress in the coming year.

Immersing Into a Different Culture

Diwali falls in October or November depending on the moon's position. If you have friends from The Middle East, ask about Diwali and its rituals and traditions. They may invite you for an authentic feast, complete with barfi and coconut laddoos. It may be a wonderful opportunity to step out of the comfort zone, to try new dishes and to learn about a new culture.

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How to Celebrate Diwali: Sharing 5 Days of Joy