How to Celebrate Diwali in Australia

Often known as the Festival of Lights, Diwali is one of the most significant annual celebrations observed by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Newar Buddhists around the globe.

The five-day celebration is designed to welcome new beginnings before the arrival of the new moon. Here’s some of the most important information on the observance and how to celebrate Diwali in Australia in 2021.

When is Diwali in Australia in 2021?

The 2021 Diwali celebrations began on 2 November in Australia. The third day – which is widely seen as the main day of Diwali – is on 4 November.

Every year, Diwali takes place on the darkest night of the Hindu lunar calendar. To symbolically combat the darkness, celebrants create grand displays of light. People light candles and oil or diyas (the Hindu name for clay lamps) in their homes and the community. Many places even host firework shows. These displays of light represent the triumph of good over evil and of wisdom over ignorance. 

What is Diwali?

History

The most popular mythological tale about Diwali centres around the Sanskrit epic Ramayana. The festival of Diwali honours the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya, who spent 14 years exiled in the forest, along with his brother and wife. It is believed that they returned after defeating Ravana, who is widely considered the villain of Ramayana. The night of their return was said to be Kartik Amavasya (otherwise known as the “dark moon night”). Overjoyed at the family’s return, the people of Ayodhya lit the entire kingdom with diyas. This is another reason people today celebrate with various light displays. 

Traditions

In addition to these shows of light, people celebrate Diwali in many other ways.

Each of the festival’s five days carries its own significance and purpose. The first day is largely dedicated to prayers and preparations for the days to come. People buy new clothes and ornaments and clean their homes.

The second day is usually when smaller displays of light are first installed. People also place rangolis – which are combinations of colourful powders, rice and flowers – outside the entrance of their homes to welcome the gods and attract good luck. 

Again, the third day of Diwali is the main day of the festival. On this day, families come together to pray for good fortune and rid themselves of evil forces. This is when the bigger displays of light – such as firecrackers and fireworks – are held.

The fourth day commemorates the spirit of gift-giving. Family members, friends and neighbours exchange gifts as well as best wishes.  

The fifth and final day of Diwali is dedicated to honouring the special bond between siblings. Families typically enjoy an extravagant feast of traditional meals and sweets to close out their celebrations.

How to celebrate Diwali in Australia

Whether you’re hoping to celebrate online or in person, there are many Diwali events you can attend – no matter where you are in Australia.

Online

Sydney

Melbourne

Brisbane

 Adelaide

Perth

Canberra

Check with your local religious community and/or places of worship to find Diwali celebrations. Some examples include the Canberra Sikh Association (CSA) and Canberra Hindu Mandir.

Hobart

Darwin