Chopstick Cinema

Celeste Heiter's Adventures in Asian Food & Film

The Festival of Lights

Today’s New Moon marks the beginning of the celebration known as Diwali, the Festival of Lights. Also known as Deepavali (which translates as ‘row of lamps’), this high holiday is observed throughout the Indian subcontinent as well as in Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia, Indonesia, and parts of Oceania, Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, the United Kingdom, and North America.

Diwali, which lasts for five days, celebrates the harvest, along with an array of mythological legends, and also marks the beginning of the fiscal year. Diwali ceremonies include ritual housecleaning, the wearing of new garments, sharing special sweets and snacks with friends and family, setting candles adrift on waterways, the overnight burning of ceremonial oil lamps, and brilliant fireworks displays.

Photo by NASA