Submitted by jbraun on

Did you know Indian history began with the discovery of the Indus Valley Civilization that spans both Pakistan and Western India today, and flourished around 2,500 BC? The flow of migrations since early time has given India the rich cultural, linguistic and spiritual heritage it shares today, and many festivals and rituals are observed.  Diwali, which is widely celebrated and known in the Hindu culture as the Festival of Lights, is observed for five day by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains across the world.

The word Diwali comes from the ancient Sanskrit word deepavali, which means rows of lighted lamps. It coincides with harvest and New Year, and signifies new beginnings, spiritual victory of good over evil, and light over darkness. Illumination plays an important role in the festival; homes and public places are decorated with small oil lamps called ‘diyas.’ The Hindu calendar follows a lunar cycle and the festival falls between October and November.

This year, Diwali starts on Nov. 12, with the third day – Nov. 14 - being the most significant as it coincides with the new moon, and concludes on Nov. 16. To learn more about India, Indian heritage, history and culture, BCLS offers the following: