Diwali (festival of lights)

Where can I find information about Diwali, the festival of lights?

Image: Photo by A. Anshu on Unsplash.

Entry last updated: 13/01/21


Diwali, known as the Hindu Festival of Lights has been celebrated for more than 2,500 years. It falls in either October or November each year, depending on the cycle of the moon. This entry is about the origin, traditions, customs, and celebration of Diwali.

General Websites

The websites below help explain the history behind this popular Indian festival, who celebrates it, and the customs and traditions involved.

Britannica School Primary

Britannica School Primary is an EPIC database which is a collection of reliable databases covering lots of different topics. It’s put together especially for New Zealand school students and helps to answer questions like this.

  • Type the search word 'Diwali' into the search box.
  • Select the article Diwali (Hindu festival). You will find here links on the origin of the festival and how it is celebrated.
Tips: To get to the EPIC resources you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or you can chat with one of our AnyQuestions librarians between 1 and 6 pm Monday to Friday and they will help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.
Tips: Search words, or keywords, are the most important words in our question. Usually it’s better to leave out small words like ‘the’, ‘a’ and ‘of’ and just choose the main ones, eg Diwali. We can always change our keywords or add more if we need to.


DigitalNZ is a search site that focuses on New Zealand history and brings together results from lots of different websites. It’s an easy way of searching online resources from New Zealand libraries, museums, universities and government sites all at once, and has lots of primary sources.

  • Type the search word 'Diwali' into the search box.
  • Click on the first result on the list, Diwali.
  • Browse the range of images, audio, videos, and articles to find out how Diwali is celebrated in New Zealand.
Tips: Websites that have .org or .net in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the organisation’s mission and values are.


FactMonster is an online encyclopedia and homework site. It has lots of basic facts and is a good starting point for all sorts of questions. If you scroll down to the bottom of the site, you will see it’s run by Pearson Education, a publisher of educational books.

  • Type the search word 'Diwali' into the search box.
  • Browse all the results that mention the word Diwali to find information about how it is celebrated and when is it celebrated.
Tips: Many web pages have links to further information or to other recommended sites. Following these links is a great way to find out more. This searching method is called “pearl growing” because you are picking up pieces of sand to make a beautiful pearl.

Diwali Festival

This is a great website from The Society for the confluence of festival of India. It is the perfect place to find out about Diwali, the festival of lights.

  • Follow the link along the top of the page to discover more about Traditions & Customs. This page has information on the 5 days of Diwali celebration.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the page. Look under the heading More Info about Diwali to find out about traditional Rangoli Designs.
  • The link Diwali in History is about the story and importance of the Hindu Gods Ram, Sita, and Lakshmi to this festival.
Tips: Some websites have advertisements (or ads) which ask us to buy something or tell us to ‘click here’. It’s best to ignore these ads and focus on the information we’re looking for.
Tips: Websites that have .org or .net in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the organisation’s mission and values are.


There are many books written about Diwali, the festival of lights.

Some recommended titles are:

Diwali by Lisa J Amstutz

Diwali by Kate Torpie

Leela's Diwali celebration by Gowri Nat

Let's celebrate 5 days of Diwali by Ajanta Chakraborty and Vivek Kumar.

SCIS no: 1930530

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