Diwali, or the “Festival of Lights,” is possibly the most popular festival in India and Nepal. Diwali is a two-day Hindu festival that celebrates the triumph of good over evil. During Diwali, people hang lights around the city and light candles as a sign of the triumph of good. Many people stay up late, playing music and lighting fireworks.

In the Hindu religion, Diwali celebrates the return of Rama, a Hindu god, after his 14-year exile (when he was greeted at night with a beautiful display of lights) and the victory of Krishna over a demon. Diwali is more than just a Hindu festival though; Jains, Sikhs and some Buddhists celebrate it too.

Much like Christmas in the Western world, Diwali is an opportunity for South Asians to buy gifts and candy to hand out to their neighbors. The holiday also provides a lot of the yearly income of stores and shops around India and Nepal. Gifts on Diwali vary from gold to clothes to decorations and even home appliances.

Diwali is usually celebrated sometime in October or November; it changes every year because the dates depend on the progression of the moon. Christians in South Asia celebrate Diwali with their neighbors and look for opportunities to share about how Jesus is the true Light of the World!

This Diwali, pray that Hindus around South Asia would be introduced to the Light of the World, Jesus.