Diwali 2020: when is the Hindu festival of lights this year, meaning of the observance and latest government rules for celebrations
Spanning over several days Diwali, or the Festival of Lights, is among the most auspicious and celebrated dates in the Hindu calendar, with Jains, Sikhs and some Buddhists also celebrating the holiday.
A celebration of light over dark the festival is synonymous with firework displays, family celebrations and group feasts.
Like many other religious events, the Hindu festival has been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic with family celebrations set to be impacted by social distancing restrictions.
Here’s everything you need to know about 2020 celebrations - and how they’ve been affected by the pandemic.
When is Diwali?
Diwali takes place each year between October and November at the conclusion of the harvest and to celebrate the new moon.
Celebrations take place over five days known as; Dhanteras (Day of fortune); Naraka Chaturdashi (Day of knowledge); Diwali (Day of light); Annakut (New Year); Bhai Duj (Day of love between siblings).
In 2020 the five day celebrations run from November 13 to November 16.
How do people typically celebrate Diwali?
During the celebration, streets, homes, offices and shops are illuminated with light, which acts as a metaphor for knowledge and consciousness.
Over the five-day period of the festival, people prepare by cleaning and decorating their homes.
The festivities reach their peak on the third day, Diwali, which falls on the darkest day of the Hindu lunar month, Kartik.
On this day, revellers dress up, light up their homes with oil lamps and candles (diyas) and worship Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity and wealth.
They also light fireworks and enjoy a feast with their family, sharing mithai (sweets) and gifts.
How will celebrations be impacted in 2020?
Diwali celebrations across the UK have either been cancelled or adapted due to coronavirus restrictions.
In Leicester a traditional light switch on complete with music and dancing has been cancelled, though the lights themselves along the city’s golden mile will still be switched on.
In London, Diwali celebrations at Trafalgar Square have been swapped for a virtual celebration.