Deepavali (also: Depawali, Dipavali, Dewali, Diwali, Divali, Dipotsavi, Dipapratipad ) marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year according to the Lunar Calendar. It literally translated means 'Row of Lights' (from Sanskrit: dipa = lamp / awali = row, line). It celebrates the victory of Goodness over Evil and Light over Darkness - it ushers in the new year. Especially for this event people are cleaning their houses and wear new clothes. Deepavali is a 4 day festival as Deepavali, Lakshmi Puja, Kartika Shuddha Padwa and Yama Dvitiya. There are many different names for the days of Deepavali (or Diwali) in different regions of India (South & North India, East & West India) and in the different languages spoken in that regions (i.e. Hindi, Urdu, Telugu, Tamil, Gujarati, Bengali). During Deepavali people pray to Lakshmi, Goddess of wealth, light, prosperity and wisdom, but also to Ganesha, the 'Remover of Obstacles' and the 'Lord of Beginnings'.

Deepavali celebrations take place in many countries in the world. On the first day of the Deepavali festival people pray and having a special breakfast made of many different foods. The Hindu Goddess Lakshmi's statue and images are carried through the streets in processions. There are various legends and stories associated with the Deepavali festival. The story of Bali, Emergence of Laxmi, Krishna Narakasur Fight, Victory of Rama over Ravana and many more. Dipa Lights (also called Diwali Diyas, Kandils, Ghee Lamps or Parvati Ganesha Lamps) - made of clay, fueled with Oil from Coconuts, Mustard or Ghee (clarified butter), the wick made of cotton wool - are placed outside of houses, on floors and doorways. During Deepavali festival, doorways are hung with torans of mango leaves and marigolds. Deepavali Melas are being enjoyed by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains & Buddhists alike. On the day of Deepavali people exchange gifts, bursting firecrackers, lighting fireworks, colourful sparklers & bonfires and having festive meals. Diwali Melas (fairs) are held throughout India and the celebrations abroad. The Indian Festival of Lights takes place after the monsoon season has finished and the weather is nice and pleasant again.

Wishing Happy Deepavali to everyone! Deepavali Valthukkal!! Shubh Diwali!!

What's the difference between
Deepavali vs. Diwali ?
Origin Deepavali is the ORIGINAL NAME from Sanskrit Dīpāvalī (दीपावली) meaning "Row of Lamps" or "Spreading of Light".
Hindi name, a contraction of "Deepavali". Could have emerged to simplify pronunciation under the British rule (1757-1947).
Regional Significance Celebrated in South-India in the states:

Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Andhra Pradesh

Countries and Regions with a significant population of Indians from the southern Indian states (Tamils) such as:

Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka/Ceylon, Fiji, South Africa, Mauritius, Réunion, Martinique & Guadeloupe
Celebrated in North-India in the states:

Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Sikkim, Meghalaya, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura

Countries with a significant Indian population mainly from North-India such as:

USA, Canada, United Kingdom, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago and others (see below)
Date Calculation Falls on Ashvina Krishna Chaturdasi (the lunar day before the new moon). The exact date is calculated based on the last 90 minutes before sunrise (Arunodaya). Deepavali involves bathing before sunrise.

Geographic location: Chennai (Tamil Nadu)
Falls on the following lunar day on Ashvina Amavasya (lunar day of new moon). The date is calculated based on extended Pradosha (a few hours after sunset). Observed by displaying diyas, lanterns and firecrackers.

Geographic location: Allahabad (Uttar Pradesh)
The 2 holidays are defined to occur on 2 separate lunar days. In the Gregorian (Western) Calendar, Deepavali & Diwali can fall on the same calendar day when both periods (see above) of about 16 hours in total happen to be within the 24 hours of a single civil/Gregorian day. This means that the date will fall in about 2/3 of cases (years) on the same Gregorian day.
(Many thanks to Olivier Beltrami for his expert advice on this !)
Festival Days
Spiritual Differences
Deepavali is a 4 day festival

Day 1: Deepavali (Naraka Chaturdasi)
Commemorates the victory of Lord Krishna over the demon Naraka. People taking a bath in the early morning before sunrise while the stars are still shining in the sky.

Day 2: Lakshmi Puja
Goddess Lakshmi emerged from Kshira Sagara (Ocean of Milk). Lakshmi Pooja is performed on this day.

Day 3: Bali Padyami/Vikram Samvat/Kartika Shuddha Padwa
Celebrates the victory of god Vishnu in his dwarf incarnation Vamana over the daemon king Bali. Honours Bali's return to earth for his devotion to the Lord and for his noble deeds to his people. First day of the Hindu month Kartika.

Day 4: Yama Dvitiya
Yama (God of Death) had a feast with his sister Yami. She put an auspicious tilak mark on his forehead for his well-being. On this day sisters pray for well-being of their brothers. In return brothers giving gifts to their sisters.

Diwali is a 5 day festival

Day 1: Dhanteras
Commemorates the birth of Dhanvantari (the physician of the Gods). Dhan translates to wealth. Goddess Lakshmi is being worshiped for prosperity and well-being. Many Indian businesses start their accounting year on this day.

Day 2: Choti Diwali (Kali Chaudas)
Also known as Small Diwali. Daemon Narakasura was killed by Krishna. Poojas for Lakshmi and Rama.

Day 3: Diwali & Lakshmi Puja
Commemorates the return of Lord Rama (King of Ayodhya) to his hometown from 14 years of exile in the forest, after defeating the evil daemon king Ravana of Lanka. Goddess Lakshmi emerged from Kshira Sagara (Ocean of Milk). Lakshmi Pooja is performed on this day.

Day 4: Govardhan Puja (Annakoot)
Celebrates the victory of Krishna over Indra, the deity of thunder and rain, by lifting Govardhana Hill with his little finger to save people from the floods. This day is also known as Annakoot (mountain of food).

Day 5: Bhai Dhooj
Sisters pray for well-being of their brothers and put a mark on their foreheads. Brothers give gifts to their sisters in return.

Corrections? Additions? Please let us know. Thank you!

Send us your best Deepavali/Diwali Pictures !

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Indian Population
Living Outside of India

Worldwide there are an estimate of 25 million Non-Resident Indians (NRI) and Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) living in countries other than India. Those estimates vary between 25 to over 30 mio. The entire NRI population is dominated by people from the southern indian states. According to recent estimates, over 54% of NRIs have their origin in South India, while only 23% are from the North, followed by 19% from the West and only 5% from East India. More details: /

Worldwide Population of People with Indian Origin

CountryNumber of
India1,166 mioDiwali Festival Celebrations in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Jaipur, Pune, Kolkata, Chennai, Tamilnadu, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Srinagar, Agra, Surat, Kanpur, Nagpur, Indore, Bhopal, Thane, Ludhiana, Lucknow, Nashik, Vadodara, Rajkot, Meerut, Patna
Nepal4.0 mio14% of population, Deepavali is called "Tihar" and "Swanti" here
USA2.8 miomost Indians in California (Cupertino, Los Angeles, Freemont, Palo Alto), New York City (NYC), Atlanta/Georgia, Indianapolis/Indiana & New Jersey
Myanmar / Burma2.0-2.9 mio2% of population, estimates vary significantly
Malaysia2.1 mio8% of population, most Tamil (also Malayalam- & Telugu speaking), called "Hari Diwali" in Malay, Celebrations in Kuala Lumpur (KL) and elsewhere
United Arab Emirates1.5 mio
Saudi-Arabia1.5 mio
United Kingdom (UK)1.4 mio2.7% of population (2nd largest ethnic minority in Britain), most in London, Leicester is famous for its Diwali celebrations
South Africa (RSA)1.2 miomost living in Durban, eastern regions of Natal and Transvaal
Canada970,000more than 70% of Indians live in Toronto/Ontario, Vancouver & Calgary
Mauritius860,00063-70% of population (80% are Hindus)
Sri Lanka850,000 
Trinidad and Tobago550,000Chaguanas hosts the Divali Nagar site
Singapore400,0003rd largest ethnic group (9-10%), most prominent in Little India District
Guyana300,000around 40% of population
Australia260,0001.2% of population, celebrated in Melbourne (Sandown Race Course)
New Zealand105,000 
Thailand65,000Diwali is called "Lam Kriyongh" here
Indonesia55,0002% of population, Bali is known for it's Diwali Festival celebrations (the majority here are Indians)
Hong Kong40,000 
Note: All numbers are estimates from various sources without any warranty.

Deepavali 2017 Calendar

When is Deepavali 2017 ?

Wednesday, 18 October, 2017 - Deepavali (Naraka Chaturdasi)
Thursday, 19 October, 2017 - Diwali (Lakshmi Puja)
Friday, 20 October, 2017 - Bali Padyami / Vikram Samvat (Kartika Shuddha Padwa)
Saturday, 21 October, 2017 - Yama Dvitiya / Bhai Duj

Note: Deepavali is celebrated 1 day before Diwali in 2017