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Holidays and Festivals around the World
November 2020

At Steppin Out Adventures, we celebrate cultures from all over the world.

My name is Anisha Wilson, and I am a content writer for Steppin Out Adventures. Raised in a half Indian family, I have celebrated Diwali with my family over the years.

In India, Diwali is celebrated every fall and is India’s most important holiday of the year.

Also known as The Festival of Lights, Diwali gets its name from the lights called diyas (small earthenware lamps filled with oil) that are placed outside the home during the holiday. The lamps symbolize the victory over darkness. 

In addition to lights, colored sand or powders are used to create patterns called rangoli on the floor. 

Diwali traditions and religious significance vary throughout India. In North India, this festival celebrates the homecoming of Rama, a Hindu god of chivalry and virtue. In South India, this holiday celebrates Lord Krishna defeating the demon, Narakasura. 

It is a five-day festival, each day featuring unique traditions. Day One, known as Dhanteras, features house cleaning, and purchasing small pieces of gold. The second day is known as Naraka Chaturdashi or Choti Diwali. On this day, prayers are offered to souls of ancestors. Lakshmi Puja is the third and main day of celebrations seeking blessings to the Lakshmi god for prosperity with light diyas, candles, and fireworks. The fourth day is the new year of the Hindu calendar featuring religious ceremonies known as Goverdham Puja. The final day, known as Bhai Dooj, celebrates the bond between brothers and sisters. 

As young children, my brother and I performed religious ceremonies called pujas on Diwali. These pujas honor the sibling bond and send good wishes to each other. We were dressed in our best Indian traditional clothing and exchanged gifts. 

In addition to religious ceremonies, my family also celebrates Diwali with food. My grandmother and mother often cooked traditional dishes such as lamb curry, naan, and Aloo Bogi (a potato dish with turmeric). 

Diwali celebrates family, prosperity, service, and ensuring good luck in the upcoming year. 

At Steppin Out Adventures, we encourage people to learn and share different cultures. Learn about cultures around the world in our upcoming virtual trips.

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