Diwali Festival of Lights

Lighting the Diyas

Henna Tattooed Hand of Indian Girl Holding Diwali Diya

Diwali, which is known around the world as The Festival of Lights, is best known for those tiny diyas, or little lights that are put around Hindu homes and in businesses. Typically on the second day the diyas are lit as friends and family don new clothes and meet each other and children set off firecrackers. Also known as “deepak,” the lights usher in the Diwali festival and set the celebratory mood. The most popular and traditional diya is a tiny baked clay pot filled with oil or ghee (clarified butter) into which a cotton string wick is inserted and lit. Lighting the diya is an act of worship itself, as it pays homage to Lakshmi (also spelled Laxmi), the goddesses of and prosperity wealth. Lighting a diya in each corner of a home with the windows open is said to invoke the presence of the goddesses.

While lighting the diya, worshippers also may ask for the blessings of the Goddess Parvati, who is said to have gambled with dice with husband Lord Shiva on the eve of Diwali. So the act of lighting the diya can also bring good luck. Worshippers also reflect on their blessings and give thanks while lighting diyas, which can also be a symbol of a person’s own illumination.

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