(telegraph) – What is Diwali?


Millions of Hindus and Jains – followers of an ancient Indian religion that shares concepts with Hinduism and Buddhism – celebrate every year. Events have traditionally taken place on the Subcontinent, but now happen in diaspora communities around the world.

Marked annually by yellow flickers of light appearing in shop windows, public places and homes, Diwali – popularly known as the ‘festival of lights’ – is a five-day festival celebrating light, knowledge and good nature.

The celebration’s fireworks, attractive decorations and light displays also mean that it has become popular among non-observers of these religions.

Sikhs celebrate Bandi Chhor Divas on the same day, marking the liberation of the Sixth Guru from prison.

Neasden Temple is holding a fireworks display on Diwali day itself (AP) Photo: AP