When is Diwali in 2019, 2020 and 2021?

India's Festival of Lights

A woman's hand lighting Diwali diyas
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When is Diwali in 2019, 2020 and 2021?

Diwali falls in either October or November each year, depending on the cycle of the moon. It's observed on the 15th day of Kartik, the holiest month in the Hindu lunar calendar.

  • In 2019, Diwali is on October 27. (See calendar). It is observed a day earlier in south India, on October 26.
  • In 2020, Diwali is on November 14.
  • In 2021, Diwali is on November 4.

Diwali Dates Detailed Information

The Diwali festival actually runs for five days, with the main celebrations happening on the third day in most places in India. Goddess Lakshmi is the primary deity that's worshiped, although each day has a special significance as follows.

  • The first day (October 25, 2019) is known as Dhanteras. "Dhan" means wealth and "teras" refers to the 13th day of a lunar fortnight on the Hindu calendar. This day is dedicated to celebrating prosperity. Goddess Lakshmi is believed to have come out of the churning of the ocean on this day and she is welcomed with a special puja (ritual). In addition, gold is traditionally purchased, and people gather to play cards and gamble. Ayurvedic doctors also honor Dhanvantari, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu who brought Ayurveda to mankind, on this day. There are a number of temples in Kerala and Tamil Nadu dedicated to Dhanvantari and Ayurveda.
  • The second day (October 26, 2019) is known as Naraka Chaturdasi or Chhoti Diwali (small Diwali). Goddess Kali and Lord Krishna are believed to have destroyed the demon Narakasura on this day. Demon effigies are burned in Goa in celebration.
  • The third day (October 27, 2019) is the new moon day known as Amavasya. This darkest day of the month is the most significant day of the Diwali festival in north and west India. Lakshmi is worshiped on this day, with a special puja performed in the evening. Goddess Kali is also usually worshiped on this day in West Bengal, Odisha and Assam (although Kali Puja sometimes falls a day earlier depending on the cycle of the moon).
  • The fourth day (October 28, 2019) has various meanings across India. In north India, Govardhan Puja is celebrated as the day when Lord Krishna defeated Indra, the god of thunder and rain. In Gujarat, it's celebrated as the start of a new year. In Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, the victory of Lord Vishnu over demon king Bali is celebrated as Bali Pratipada or Bali Padyami.
  • The fifth day (October 29, 2019) is known as Bhai Duj. It's dedicated to celebrating sisters, in a similar way that Raksha Bandhan is dedicated to brothers. Brothers and sisters get together and share food, to honor the bond between them. 

More Information About Diwali

Find out more about the meaning of the Diwali festival and how it's celebrated in this Essential Diwali Festival Guide, and see pictures in this Diwali Photo Gallery.

Wondering where's best to join in the Diwali celebrations? Take a look ​at these diverse Ways and Places to Celebrate Diwali in India.

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