Word of the Day


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Liz Potter
Written by Liz Potter


an important festival in the Hindu religion that takes place in October or November

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

Origin and usage

Diwali comes from a Sanskrit word ‘dīpāvalī’ meaning a row of lights. It has many different English spellings but Diwali is the most frequently used nowadays. It was first used in English at the end of the 17th century.


Yesterday was Diwali, a festival celebrated principally by Hindus but also by people of other faiths including Jains, Sikhs and some Buddhists. It is a public holiday in India and several other countries. As with many religious observances, the date of Diwali moves from year to year, but it always falls in October or November of the western calendar. In its home countries Diwali marks the end of the harvest season and is marked by, among other things, the brilliant illumination of homes, shops, businesses and temples. This year Diwali coincided in the UK with the day the clocks go back, giving an extra hour of daylight in the morning at the expense of longer daylight in the evening. It’s a time of year when many feel rather gloomy as daylight decreases and winter approaches. The coming together of the festival of light and the day when the decrease in natural light becomes more obvious is a happy coincidence.


“The most-loved festival, Diwali is here! From lights, delicious sweets and gifts, the festival is all about spreading cheer.”

Related words

dharma, Hinduism, Navaratri, Sanskrit, Sikhism

Browse related words in the Macmillan Thesaurus.

About the author

Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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