Diwali is one of the most popular festival celebrated by followers of Hindu faith and of followers of faiths with roots in Hinduism such as Jains, Sikhs and some sects of Buddhists.
Diwali is celebrated for many reasons, some of which are regional and local. I have created this trivia using the common knowledge of this festival.
FYI – Hinduism believes in one God (symbolized by Om) and the gods and goddesses worshipped by Hindus are forms of this one omniscient, omnipresent god. Many of these gods and goddesses are associated with this popular festival of Diwali. Temple visit is not a mandatory part of Hinduism but many Hindus visit temples during these 5 days of Diwali.
1. What does the “Diya” or clay lamp symbolize?
Answer: It symbolizes the inner light that protects from spiritual darkness. The light signifies good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance. Diyas now come in various materials other than clay. Candles are also used in lieu of diyas by some.
2. What does it mean by Deepavali?
Answer: It is a sanskrit language word meaning row (avali) of clay lamps (Deepa). Or row of lights.
3. Why do people decorate their homes and dress up on Diwali?
Answer: It is believed that on this day goddess Lakshmi roams the earth and blesses her followers with wealth and happiness. Many believe the lights and decorations will guide Lakshmi ji to their households. People dress up to welcome Lakshmi ji in their homes. They place rangoli near the entrance of their homes to lead and invite gods into their homes to bring wealth, prosperity, happiness and new beginnings in their life.
4. What Hindu calendar month does Diwali fall on?
Answer: Karthik or Ashwin. Each year, the exact date of the festival changes according to the Hindu lunisolar calendar, with the festival typically falling between mid-October and mid-November.
5. What kind of moon always exists on Diwali night?
Answer: No moon or Amavasya. To enjoy the Festival of Lights on a moonless night, firecrackers are lit and lights are placed on the walls and entrances of the buildings.
6. What Hindu scriptures is Diwali mentioned in?
Answer: It is mentioned in the Puranas – Padma Purana and Skanda Purana.
7. What are the names of each of the 5 days of Diwali?
Answer: Day 1 is Dhanteras, Day 2 is Chhoti Diwali or Naraka Chaturdashi, Day 3 is main Diwali or Lakshmi Puja, Day 4 is Annakut or Hindu New Year or Govardhan Puja or Padwa or Bali Padyami or Virapratipada, and Day 5 is Bhaiyya Duj or Bhau-Beej.
8. What do people do on Day 1 (Dhanteras) of Diwali?
Answer: People clean their homes and buy gold or kitchen utensils to bring good fortune. Dhan in Dhanteras refers to Dhanvantri, the goddess of health and healing, who emerged during the churning of the ocean/Samudhra Manthan.
9. What do people do on Day 2 (Chhoti Diwali) of Diwali?
Answer: People decorate their homes with lamps/lights/diyas/candles and create design patterns called rangoli. Rangoli can be made using colored powder, flour, flowers, lentils, colored rice or sand.
10. What do people do on Day 3 (Lakshmi Puja – main day) of Diwali?
Answer: On the main day of this festival, families gather together for Lakshmi Puja followed by delicious and traditional feasts, mithai’s (Indian sweets) and firework festivities.
11. What do people do on Day 4 (Annakut) of Diwali?
Answer: In some regions, this is the first day of the Hindu New Year. Friends and relatives visit with gifts and best wishes for the season.
12. What happens during Annakut?
Answer: it is a day of offering gratitude to Shri Krishna for saving the people of Vrindavan from heavtyrains by lifting the Govardhan mountain and giving them shelter under it. Mounds of food in the shape of Govardhan mountain are offered to Lord Krishna during Govardhan Puja.
13. What do people do on Day 5 (Bhaiyya Duj) of Diwali?
Answer: It is a day celebrating the bond between brothers and sisters. On this day sisters put tika (dot) on the forehead of their brothers. This day is marked by good food and gift giving between the siblings.
14. What is the common theme amongst different regions and religions regarding the celebration of Diwali?
Answer: Hindus interpret the roots of Diwali based upon where they live. But there’s one common theme no matter where people celebrate: the Victory of good over evil, light over darkness,knowledge over ignorance. All the legends associated with Diwali are a reminder of Hindu belief that good ultimately triumphs over evil.
15. Why is Diwali celebrated in north India?
Answer: On this day, Shri Ram returned to his home in Ayodhya with his wife Sita and brother Lakshman. They returned after 14 years of exile and after killing the demon king Ravana.
16. Why is Diwali celebrated in south India?
Answer: On this day, Shri Krishna defeated the demon Narakasura and brought peace to the lands. According to legend, Narakasura as his dying wish requested Mother Earth that his death be celebrated with lights and colors across the land every year. His wish was granted.
17. Why is Diwali celebrated in western India?
Answer: On this day, Lord Vishnu sent the demon king Bali to rule the netherworld.
18. What deity do people of West Bengal (Eastern part of India) worship on Diwali?
Answer: They do Kali Puja since Kali ji is a goddess of destruction and she destroys evil forces. This confirms with the common Diwali theme of victory over evil and light over darkness.
19. How is Diwali celebrated in West Bengal ?
Answer: Natives of West Bengal celebrate Kali Puja, or Kali Day, instead of doing the traditional Diwali. They head to Kali temples to make offerings and pray. During the celebration, large statues of the fierce goddess are decorated and set up all over the state.
20. Why is Diwali celebrated by Jains?
Answer: On this day Lord Mahavira (the great light of Jains) attained nirvana or spiritual awakening on October 15, 527 B.C.
21. Why do Sikhs celebrate Diwali?
Answer: On this day, the sixth Sikh guru, Guru Hargobind Singh ji was freed from imprisonment.
22. Why do Buddhists celebrate Diwali?
Answer: Some Buddhists believe that on the day of Diwali, Emperor Ashoka converted to Buddhism in the 3rd century BCE. This festival is celebrated by the Vajrayana Buddhist minority among the Newar people of Nepal.
23. What is special about the celebration of Diwali at the Golden Temple in Amritsar?
Answer: The foundation of the Golden temple was laid on Diwali in 1581.
24. How is Lakshmi ji associated with Diwali?
Answer: It is believed that on this day, Lakshmi ji, the goddess of wealth and prosperity, was born out of the great churning of the milk ocean known as Samudhra Manthan. Also, the month of Karthik signifies the end of harvest season, and farmers offer their harvest to Goddess Lakshmi for prosperity.
25. How many days after Dussehra does Diwali fall?
Answer: Dussehra is a Hindu festival that precedes Diwali by 20 days. On Dussehra, Lord Rama defeated and killed the demon king Ravana.
26. What countries have Diwali as an official national holiday?
Answer: Fiji, Guyana, Malaysia, Mauritius, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Trinidad and Tobago, Nepal and Suriname – all these countries have significant populations of Hindu descent. And of course India.
27. Which US President started Diwali celebration in the White House and when?
Answer: President George W Bush in 2003 started the Diwali celebration in the White House. It was carried on by his successors Barack Obama and Donald Trump.
Reference: Google Guru http://www.google.com