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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 November, 2004, 15:33 GMT
Are you celebrating Diwali?
Members of the Hindu, Jain and Sikh communities are commemorating Diwali, or the Festival of Lights.

Diwali is a celebration of the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance.

Small oil lamps or diyas are lit and placed around the home, in courtyards, gardens and roof-tops.

Festive meals are prepared, gifts exchanged and lights and fireworks feature strongly.

Are you celebrating Diwali this year? Send us your comments and stories. We would also like to see your festival pictures.

Click here to find out how to submit your photos

This debate is now closed. Here are some of the comments we received:

We are joining in with the spirit of Diwali even though we are Catholic. It is nice to celebrate a different type of festival for a change and it also brings different cultures closer together.
Philip Warburton, Manchester, England

Best wishes of the season to everyone. Memories of getting up before sunrise, wearing new clothes, the non-stop phone calls from relatives and friends sending in their wishes, and gorging on an endless variety of sweets are still fresh. And although I gave up fireworks a long time ago, I think it's very important, in the interests of building a better world that we should strive to realize the ideals this festival stands for. The tone of most of the comments I read on this page was refreshingly optimistic, and showed me that there is still hope for our kind.
Shankar Ananthakrishnan, Bombay, India (currently Los Angeles)

Although it was freezing outside our unity kept us warm
Dharmesh Agravat, UK

Diwali was a wonderful occasion, had all the family round. Started the day by going to the Radhe krishna mandir, after that we visited the other mandir for darshan. Along with my parents we went to other relatives houses wishing them a happy new year, it was great to see family and friends which I don't usually bump into, then in the evening the mandir was glowing with excitement and full of hustle and bustle... they did the firework display outside, although it was freezing outside our unity kept us warm. Id like to wish all Hindus a great Diwali and a Happy New Year.
Dharmesh Agravat, UK

It is nice to read the good sentiments expressed here by people of all faiths. How wonderful our world will be, if people everywhere imbibed the good things in all religions and cultures, and rejected the undesirable and irrational, and considered themselves as human beings first and foremost!
Rajiv, USA (Indian)

I have recently come to UK. I am glad I was with my parents and rest of the family to celebrate Diwali all these years. But when I look at my 7-year-old son I feel when is he going to be among his brothers and sisters in India to enjoy Diwali. We miss India a lot during Diwali period. Someone truly said: "You can take a man out of India but cannot take India out of a man".
Rohit, Shouth Shields

I missed the wonderful fireworks displays this year because I was marking the end of Ramadan by celebrating Eid. Happy Diwali friends!
Mullah Hafeezud Din, Birmingham, UK

It was a spectacular sight driving out of London on the M4 approaching Heathrow with fireworks on the horizon
Mohammad Mehdi, Aylesbury
Greetings to every one for Diwali. It was a spectacular sight driving out of London on the M4 approaching Heathrow with fireworks on the horizon on either sides of the motorway. (Hounslow, Slough and Southall)
Mohammad Mehdi, Aylesbury

I remember my childhood when I was in India with my parents. We could see beautiful Rangolis outside the houses. We could hear firecrackers weeks before the actual Diwali. The markets were full of beautiful clothes, gifts, sweets and Gold ornaments. The markets were crowded with people. It was just a wonderful experience which I will never be able to forget it in my life. Wishing you all happiness as big as Ganeshji's appetite, Life as long as his trunk, Troubles as small as his mouse and Moments as sweet as his Laddos. Happy New Year.
Kaivalya Joshi, Uxbridge, UK

Third year in a row Diwali was celebrated in a big way in Auckland. It was a mix of traditional and popular culture, food fun and fireworks in downtown. The lively colourful crowds brought a very different flavour to the city.
Rina, Auckland, New Zealand

Let the cherishing light of Diwali bring a prosperous and peaceful year to the whole world!
Rahul Sasidhar, Hoboken, NJ, USA

I don't mind the fireworks but do people have to insist on letting them off until 3.30am and then start again at 6.00am? We have to suffer this for the whole of Diwali. I'm not saying don't celebrate but please let us have some peace and quiet so we can at least get some sleep.
Isobel, Birmingham, UK

The philosophy behind Diwali - one all too needed at this time - is truly great, and even though I am not a Hindu, I will light candles and give small gifts to my family to celebrate the light in all people, in a sadly dark world.
Candice, Baltimore, Maryland USA

How good it is to read comments on a religious festival where people from all faiths are sending their good wishes. May I add mine too, as a Christian? Not one misery carping on about commerciality, expense, or the perceived futility of religion! Bliss!
Julie, UK

My second Diwali in Delhi was fabulous. It goes to show that spirituality is still THE calm for any storm...or city. And this year, there were fewer fireworks so the air is clearer!!!
Diepiriye S. Kuku-Siemons, New Delhi, India (American)

We should rejoice and celebrate Diwali
Hiren Desai, Toronto, Canada
Light dispels darkness - of ignorance, blind passion, hatred, bigotry, division and falsehood that marks the lower nature in human behaviour. Celebrating Diwali and bringing light into homes is symbolic to bringing the light of love, kindness, empathy for one and all to feel unity of creation in the whole world around us. It is in this spirit we should rejoice and celebrate Diwali.
Hiren Desai, Toronto, Canada

As a Buddhist I wish to send my warmest wishes to all Diwali celebrators and lovers of light!!! May all beings be well...May all beings be happy!!!
Peter Campbell-Kelly, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Celebrating such festivals outside India feels really good as every one of us come together as a community and celebrate with joyous enthusiasm. The celebration reminds us of our beautiful heritage in places far away from our homeland. Happy Diwali to everyone!
Damayanti Datta, USA/India

Diwali was celebrated in my part of London last night with a spectacular, continuous fireworks display from 7.30pm to 12.30pm which we all enjoyed.
Jes, London

Many fireworks were visible from the air
Adam, London, UK
Well, clearly a great many people are celebrating it. I flew into Heathrow last night, and when passing over London many fireworks were visible from the air. It was a truly beautiful sight!
Adam, London, UK

Let me take this opportunity and wish all the Indians throughout the world a very happy Diwali and hope for your prosperity in the coming years. Hopefully the overseas Indians will bind together more as a community and help develop their motherland.
Aruni, Coventry, UK

I was in Mumbai last year for a few months, and if you think November 5th is bad, you haven't experienced the real fireworks that are let off during Diwali. I sometimes thought they must have been of military grade. And they go off most of the night and half the day. And for weeks on end... I used to roll up to the office half asleep!
Chris, London, UK

As someone who was born to a Hindu father and a Muslim mother, Diwali is extra special this year as it coincides with Eid. We were brought up to respect not only our parent's cultures but other's too. I would say that this is good triumphing over evil. Happy Diwali and Eid Mubarak to all.
Jenney Surelia, London

Happy Diwali to the BBC and all the people!
Parmatmas Ajapa Japa, Mumbai, India

A very festive day was had by all, it was good to see all the neighbours joining in regardless of colour and creed
G. Bassi, Southall, England

I hope that all mankind strives to achieve the principles that Diwali celebrates
Ken, Scotland
I'll not be celebrating it as such but I hope that all mankind strives to achieve the principles that Diwali celebrates. Looking at our world as it is today, we have a long way to go before we can truly say that good has triumphed over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance.
Ken, Scotland

My fondest memories of Diwali are lighting fireworks in our back garden. It is very fitting that fireworks can also be used to celebrate Bonfire Night as well as the festival of lights!
Asif Givashi, London

Though, by tradition, I'm labelled as a Hindu and I appreciated the lightness and enjoyment, using firecrackers on this (or any) occasion is the worst thing to do. I think a better way of celebrating is to help needy people through charities.
Kedar Joshi, Cambridge, UK

The internet has brought the spirit of Diwali closer to people outside India. In the USA, Diwali celebrations occur in Indian community events at convenient weekends. "Diwali" stretches out for weeks. Now, with the internet, Diwali messages and festive cards and pictures fly globally, in real time!
Nikhilesh Dholakia, Wakefield, Rhode Island, USA

Good customs and celebrations die hard. The celebration of Diwali brings nostalgic memories of my childhood when I celebrated this festival each year with my parents, brothers and sisters. As this is the Hindu festival of lights we lit candles and placed them in the living room, the dining room and on the porch and driveway to the house. It was also a time to receive presents and new clothes. The day started with an oil bath followed by a shower, wearing new clothes, having sumptuous home-cooked meals, receiving visitors and firing crackers and playing with sparklers. Festivals like Diwali bring communities together. Perhaps if we learn to celebrate and respect other people's customs we could enhance world peace and understanding in a big way. Happy Diwali.
Pancha Chandra, Brussels, Belgium



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