This year, Diwali is observed on Sunday November 12th with festivities beginning the Friday before and ending the Tuesday after, coinciding with the Hindu months, Ashvin and Kartika. Each of the days holds its own celebratory traditions. Throughout the week, the festivities focus on common holiday themes, like prayer and worship, food, family, and charitable giving.
Diwali is the third day of the observance where diyas (oil lanterns made of clay) are illuminated and the goddess Lakshmi is worshipped at temples and in homes. Gifts are exchanged and meals are shared. Most notably, firework displays mark the occasion.
Diwali, which is primarily a Hindu holiday but is also celebrated in Jainism and Sikhism, gets its name from the Sanskrit words for “row of clay lamps”, which illuminated homes in a symbol of protection from spiritual darkness.
If you are wondering how to wish someone well during Diwali (and don’t have the lyrical stylings of The Office’s Michael Scott), go with a simple “Happy Diwali!”