Diwali, the ancient five day Hindu festival, is considered one of the happiest holidays in India.
The word Diwali comes from the Sanskrit word deepavali, which means “row of lighted lamps”. The main theme of the festival is the triumph of light over darkness, goodness over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair.
To celebrate Diwali, people clean and decorate their houses with lights and candles, dress up in their finest clothes, and take part in puja (prayers), often kneeling before Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity, to seek her divine blessing.
During the festival nights, fireworks light up the sky and family and friends celebrate with elaborate feasts.
How popular is Diwali?
- Approximately 80% of India’s 1.2 billion people identify themselves as Hindu.
- The country is home to more than 20 million Sikhs and 4 million Jains, who also celebrate Diwali.
- Diwali has significance for many Buddhists, who mark the day by chanting mantras to remember Lord Buddha.
- Throughout the world, Diwali is officially recognised in several other countries, including in Bali, Fiji, Malaysia, Mauritius, Nepal, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and Trinidad and Tobago.
- Thanks to the Indian diaspora, there are also celebrations in Western nations such as the United States and United Kingdom.
- In Australia, where Diwali occurs on 19 October 2017, carnivals featuring fireworks, food stalls, dancing and henna paintings will occur in capital cities.
The Perth Mint’s first coin to mark Diwali portrays a coloured representation of Lakshmi sitting on a lotus flower with gold coins pouring out of her hands, symbolising material and spiritual wealth.
Struck from 1oz of 99.99% pure silver, no more than 5,000 of these vividly coloured releases will be issued, each housed in a latex display frame that displays both sides of the coin.