Cultural events are listed here with basic background details. For specific events, dates, and times, please see the Featured Events on the Cultural Calendar main page.
Diwali, famously referred to as the Festival of Lights, is celebrated by over a billion people from a range of faiths throughout India and across the world.
Also known as Divali or Deepavali, Diwali is observed in Hindu, Sikh, Jain, and Buddhist traditions, and is celebrated so widely it has no single story of origin. Though the narrative of the story changes from region to region, and from religion to religion, the common thread throughout is that Diwali celebrates the triumph of good over evil and knowledge over ignorance, as symbolised by light over darkness.
Diwali celebrations take place over five days during the Hindu calendar month of Kārtika. The third of these five days is considered the peak of the festival, coinciding with the darkest night of the lunar month in the northern hemisphere.
Just as the stories of the origin change from place to place, so too do the rituals and practices of the festival, but there are some observances which are common to the celebrations all over the world. The lighting of lamps, the eating and sharing of sweets, the cleaning and decorating of houses with beautiful rangoli, letting off fireworks, feasting and spending time with loved ones are shared aspects of Diwali everywhere.
In Aotearoa New Zealand, Diwali is celebrated in all the ways listed above. People celebrate at home, make trips to temple, and visit family and friends. In the bigger cities, Diwali has become a major public event with festivities arranged by local cultural associations or City Councils, including large scale public fireworks displays.
Diwali is celebrated over five days, beginning just prior to the new moon between the months of Asvina and Kartika in the Hindu calendar, which typically corresponds with October/November in the Gregorian calendar.