Diwali Festival, the Christmas of Indians

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The traditional festival of light, known as Diwali, happens in India every year in October or November, depending on the cycle of the moon. Lights and lamps are lit inside and outside homes, to symbolize the internal, spiritual light that chases away darkness. There’s no more illuminating time to explore historical cities such as Udaipur, Delhi, and Mumbai. And remember, no trip to India is complete without visiting the Taj Mahal, a monument, which was built in the 17th Century as a shrine to the wife of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. It’s still known as one of the most romantic sights in the world.

People often think of Diwali as a Hindu festival, but it is also celebrated by Sikhs and Jains. If you’re visiting India around the time of Diwali, do be aware that this is a peak travel time for Indians, not only during the festival but for a couple of weeks afterwards (due to Diwali school holidays). Trains will be heavily booked and popular destinations will be crowded.

Diwali is Celebrated Over Five Days

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DAY ONE: People clean their homes and shop for gold or kitchen utensils to help bring good fortune.
DAY TWO: People decorate their homes with clay lamps and create design patterns called rangoli on the floor using colored powders or sand.
DAY THREE: On the main day of the festival, families gather together for Lakshmi puja, a prayer to Goddess Lakshmi, followed by mouth-watering feasts and firework festivities.
DAY FOUR: This is the first day of the new year, when friends and relatives visit with gifts and best wishes for the season.
DAY FIVE: Brothers visit their married sisters, who welcome them with love and a lavish meal.

Be prepared for lots of loud noise from the fireworks and firecrackers going off. The air also becomes filled with smoke from the firecrackers, which can add to breathing difficulties. It’s a good idea to protect your hearing with ear plugs during Diwali, especially if your ears are sensitive. Some crackers are extremely loud, and sound more like explosions.

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