Diwali 2023: "May light triumph over darkness and good over evil"

Candles displayed for Diwali
Picture of Priya

I'm Priya Rauli – HR Advisor. I have been working at Coin Street for just over two years now. The baby of a big multi-generational Punjabi family, growing up with my parents, siblings, grandparents, many cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews; my life has been filled with all the most wonderful, vibrant, and rich traditions of Punjabi culture – Diwali in particular has always been significant for me and my family, for this reason I sought to share the true meaning and beauty of the Festival of Lights with you all.

May light triumph over darkness and good over evil.

Diwali, “Deepavali” (Sanskrit) or Bandi Chhor Divas, literally translated as “a series of lights”, is a religious holiday that spans three interrelated but distinct religions:

  • Hinduism
  • Jainism
  • Sikhism

Depending on the phase and position of the moon, the dates for the festival differ each year but it typically falls between October and November every year.

The festival holds particular significance for each group. Usually lasting five days and celebrated during the Hindu Lunisolar month Kartika. Diwali symbolises the victory of light over dark, i.e. triumph of humanity and truth over evil powers and lies.

It is deeply tied in with religious scripture and ancient legends.

Candles display for diwali

For Hindus, the holiday of Diwali represents lessons and values to be kept throughout one’s life. Each value and lesson is celebrated on a particular day of the five-day holiday, and it is learned through the struggles and triumphs of Gods and other important figures in the religion’s mythology.

In northern India, Hindus celebrate the return of the deities (gods) Rama and Sita to the city of Ayodhya, after defeating the evil king Ravana.

For Sikhs, the Diwali celebration coincides with Bandi Chhor Divas, or the Day of Liberation. This day commemorates the sixth Guru’s, Guru Hargobind Ji, release from imprisonment from the Muslim ruler Jahengir, along with 52 Hindu princes.  His release is a symbol of religious freedom for Sikhs that compromise a religious minority in India. Diyas and lights are extremely symbolic in the Sikh celebration as well, as the Golden Temple was lit upon Guru Hargobind Ji’s return from prison. Today the tradition continues with the Golden Temple illuminated in remembrance, and gifts and meals shared between families.

The Golden Temple on Diwali (Amritsar, Punjab – India)

The Golden Temple on Diwali (Amritsar, Punjab – India)

How is Diwali celebrated?

Candles being lit


Many consider Diwali to be a fresh start, like the Lunar New Year in January. Families clean, renovate, and decorate their homes during this time. On this day, many worship and offer prayers and it is believed that there is a lot of positive energy that will grace the house, which is clean, well-lit, and adorned as per our beliefs.

Hence it is for prosperity and allowing the light to cleanse our house, body and mind and wish good vibes for self, family, and friends. Homes are therefore decorated with oil lamps called diyas and candles on Diwali and each part of the home is well lit to avoid darkness. In India, it is common to decorate entrances with beautiful powdered rangoli patterns and keep windows and doors open.

Candles and diyas


On this day, families pray for the blessing of a prosperous, peaceful, and healthy new year for their families and friends. Diwali links directly to the Goddess Lakshmi who symbolises wealth and prosperity and Lord Ganesha, the remover of obstacles.

Once the candles and diyas are lit, families gather to give thanks for all the blessings bestowed on them and to reflect on the passing year, as well as think of the loved ones who have come and gone.  

Is it believed that the lights and lamps that adorn homes, help the Goddess Lakshmi find her way to peoples' homes, bringing prosperity for the year to come.

Foods for Diwali


With a general atmosphere of celebration and happiness, people also follow the tradition of preparing or getting special Diwali mithai (Indian sweets).

They are then offered to anyone who visits them during this auspicious time and are also exchanged with family and loved ones. This signifies the importance of sharing the love and happiness of Diwali with everyone as the community celebrates it together. There’s also a tradition of preparing delicious and mouth-watering Diwali recipes during this period. This includes various Indian recipes like Samosas, Pakoras, Namakpare, Rice Kheer, Gajar Halwa, Besan Halwa, Jalebi, Kaju Katli.

It is a good omen to make sure that oil is burned in your home on Diwali, therefore fried sweet and savoury pastries are made and shared with loved ones and friends. This is usually followed by a meal consisting of traditional favourites such as delicious breads, rice, yoghurt, and curries. 

Fireworks for Diwali


For Diwali, the lighting of fireworks is interpreted as a way to ward off all evil spirits as well as add to the festive mood and signify the victory of light over darkness. In addition, this ritual may also be linked to the tradition of paying respect to departed ancestors and to celebrate the arrival of any new additions to the family.

What Diwali means to me

For me, Diwali represents so much more than a yearly custom. Diwali is about family, laughter, love, prayer, reflection, and new cycles. It represents the happiest and most wonderful memories from my childhood, my culture and is the most cherished festival to many Sikhs, Hindus, and Jains around the world.

Diwali has taught me to be proud of my Indian culture and embodies the inherent good in all of us and commemorates a day for joy and pride. In fact, it enacts a central lesson - to be a happy, kind, and above all a good human being. For this timeless lesson, I will be forever grateful.


Wishing you all happiness, health, wealth, and prosperity. Happy Diwali!