Diwali: One festival, many customs
Diwali is not only celebrated by Hindus, it is also an occasion for celebration by Jains and Sikhs (pictured). The Sikhs celebrate Diwali to mark the return of the Sixth Guru, Guru Hargobind Ji, who was freed from imprisonment and also managed to release 52 political prisoners at the same time from Gwalior fort by Mughal Emperor Jahangir in 1619.
November 6th, 2012
05:21 AM ET

Diwali: One festival, many customs

By Naomi Canton, for CNN

(CNN) - Diwali is one of the most important Hindu festivals in India - but the colorful customs and meanings associated with it can vary dramatically depending on whether you reside in the countryside or the city.

On the streets of densely populated conurbations like Mumbai, Diwali - popularly known as the Festival of Lights - is often a raucous affair, marked by a cacophony of firecrackers on the streets and a flourish of ceremonial gambling in the home. The wealthier urban dwellers splurge on gold, jewelry, clothes and expensive gifts such as electronics, which they buy for themselves and their loved ones.

- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Hinduism • India • Sikh

soundoff (77 Responses)
  1. Hiiii

    Ram was a 'bad husband', says Ram Jethmalani
    Edited by Sabyasachi Dasgupta | Updated: November 08, 2012 22:48 IST

    New Delhi: In a major embarrassment to the BJP, which has spearheaded the Ram Temple movement and Hindutva agenda, the party's Rajya Sabha member Ram Jethmalani today termed Ram, the protagonist of Ramayana, as a "bad husband".

    Speaking at a function to launch a book on a man-woman relationship, Mr Jethmalani said "Ram was a bad husband. I don't like him at all. Just because some fisherman said something, he sent that poor woman (Sita) to exile."

    He went on to take a jibe at Lakshman by saying he was "even worse". He said, "When Sita was abducted, Ram asked him to go and find her as she was abducted during his watch. Lakshman simply excused himself saying she was his sister-in-law and he never looked at her face, so he wouldn't be able to identify her", Mr Jethmalani said.

    Mr Jethmalani's remarks came only days after his party president Nitin Gadkari's faux pas when he equated the IQ of spiritual leader and patriot Swami Vivekananda and underworld don Dawood Ibrahim in Bhopal on Sunday. Mr Gadkari later regretted his remarks but said he was quoted out of context.

    Ironically, Mr Jethmalani had supported his son Mahesh's decision to quit BJP's National Executive Committee after Mr Gadkari's remarks. He said, "I fully approve of the action of my son after this Vivekananda episode. I think we don't need to be associated with the party which he (Gadkari) is leading... nothing against him personally."

    Mr Jethmalani has front-lined the revolt demanding the removal of the party's president after charges of corruption against Mr Gadkari.

    (With inputs from PTI)
    Story first published: November 08, 2012 22:35 IST

    November 9, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • Frankie

      No wonder these Indians are so screwed up.

      November 10, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
    • Eliminate hinduism, Atheism, Secular ism. way of animals, not human.

      Here comes another paki tard, goon, denier of truth absolute, corruption of Theen Allah.

      November 10, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
  2. Cherub

    Is that guy in picture Hafiz Saeed the freedom fighter

    November 8, 2012 at 10:01 am |
    • Amit-Atlanta-USA.

      no, he is the one who assasinated the indian prime minister

      November 8, 2012 at 10:01 am |
  3. ..

    Did you see the terrorist in the picture lighting the lamp?

    November 7, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • ..

      oh my bad, for a second, I thought he was my father in that picture. sorry.

      November 7, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • Patriot

      Did you see yourself in Mirror?

      November 7, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
  4. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things.

    November 7, 2012 at 6:50 am |
    • TrollAlert

      "Ronald Regonzo" who degenerates to:
      "Salvatore" degenerates to:
      "Douglas" degenerates to:
      "truth be told" degenerates to:
      "Thinker23" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "another repentant sinner" degenerates to:
      "Dodney Rangerfield" degenerates to:
      "tina" degenerates to:
      "captain america" degenerates to:
      "Atheist Hunter" degenerates to:
      "Anybody know how to read? " degenerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "ImLook'nUp" degenerates to:
      "Kindness" degenerates to:
      "Chad" degenerates to
      "Bob" degenerates to
      "nope" degenerates to:
      "2357" degenerates to:
      "WOW" degenerates to:
      "fred" degenerates to:
      "!" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert"

      This troll is not a christian. .

      November 7, 2012 at 9:51 am |
  5. krm1007 ©™

    This year the Doozies should celebrate the "Implosionvali". A state of Nirvana for them. Nothing works in that joke of a country...communism failed, and so did socialism...while democracy was dead on arrival.

    November 7, 2012 at 4:05 am |
  6. krm1007 ©™

    Wonder what they celebrate. Goddess Kali sacrificing thousands of people with her fangs dripping with blood? Hmmm.....

    November 7, 2012 at 4:01 am |
    • krm1007 ©™

      oh by the way, if Kali kills muslim terrorists, I am okay with that. I like to call drones, messengers of Kali!!

      November 7, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • Patriot

      The second name of ignorance is idiocy!

      November 7, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • Amit-Atlanta-USA.

      The hindus celebrate diwali to light fire under their @ss so they can get motivated to beg for some more tech aid from Amreeca, Cunada.

      November 8, 2012 at 10:04 am |
    • Amit-Atlanta-USA.

      kali is a real b!tch...PMSing

      November 8, 2012 at 10:04 am |
    • TG

      Yeah, You people slaughter thousands of Turkeys to celebrate Thanksgiving even today. So get a life

      November 13, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
  7. krm1007 ©™

    I mean the country is reeling in poverty and they are talking about egambling, expensive gifts. Talk about an ostrich with head in the sand. Just plain decadent values that has plunged the country into an imminent stae of implosion..

    November 7, 2012 at 3:59 am |
  8. krm1007 ©™

    Good morning Sir, good morning Babuji, I am Kareem Chamra from Pakistan. How are Sir! I just woke up and it smells bad here. Can someone send me sponsor papers Sir please!!? I want to come to America too. I will polish your shoes rest of my life.

    November 6, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  9. Mohammad A Dar


    November 6, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • Eliminate hinduism, religions corruption of truth absolute by hindu's lairs, for peace, Islam among humanity.

      hinduism, cheap talk of hindu, beggars from hindered beggar land india, spewing their hinduism, absurdities to hide hinduism, illegality, foundation of hinduism, racism, hindu's ignorant live by following hinduism, incest as their faith. visit limitisthetruth.com to learn hind, filth of hinduism, criminality against humanity and truth absolute GOD.

      November 6, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      Shut the fvck up you human garbage. Learn first how to write you donkey.

      November 7, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  10. Akira

    "And yet none of them will inherit the Kingdom of God unless they repent and accept Jesus as their savior.
    "You fvckin phony.
    "Go F yourself tallulah.
    "Not my problem A go F yourself."
    -christopler hitchens, Christian

    You're going to hell! You're going to hell! Hypocrite boy!

    November 6, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • Eliminate hinduism, religions corruption of truth absolute by hindu's lairs, for peace, Islam among humanity.

      Your hinduism, fabrication Jesus never existed, hinduism, fabrication of hindu, pagan, self centered Romans to justify hindu Mithra ism, racist savior ism, to justify hindu criminal Kings and their hindu criminal prophets as hindu sanatans, filthy goon as man god's, shove your hindu fabrication Jesus in hindu's ignorant's hind, he never existed and have no chance to come back.

      November 6, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • nope


      November 6, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  11. krm1007 ©™

    The first place these Indians need to light a fire is up their @ss. They need to feed the poor who cant get a straight meal a day.

    November 6, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  12. Eliminate hinduism, religions corruption of truth absolute by hindu's lairs, for peace, Islam among humanity.

    Gone with the wind, hindu's, crooks, denier of truth absolute GOD, sure hindu's, crooks have no truth abut hinduism, absurdity to defend their hinduism, criminality.

    November 6, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • Patriot

      Now in India the queen of corruption is inported Christian Lady from Italy!

      November 7, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
  13. Atheist Hunter

    Leave Hinduism before Jesus returns.

    November 6, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • Reasonably

      Leave Jesus before Odin returns.

      November 6, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • Spencer

      Leave Oden before Cthulhu returns!

      November 6, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
  14. Eliminate hinduism, religions corruption of truth absolute by hindu's lairs, for peace, Islam among humanity.


    November 6, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • havesomesnese

      learn English first.

      November 6, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • Eliminate hinduism, religions corruption of truth absolute by hindu's lairs, for peace, Islam among humanity.

      hindu's hind hurts.

      November 6, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • TG

      Why eliminate Hinduism which is the oldest and greatest religion in the world. It is the muslims that should be decimated so that the world can live in peace. We can live without the Islam religion which is nothing but barbaric, uneducated, and trouble makers and terrorist like cancer. You have to eliminate the cancer so that it won't grow

      November 13, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
  15. Eliminate hinduism, religions corruption of truth absolute by hindu's lairs, for peace, Islam among humanity.

    Celebrating hinduism, illegality, way of hindu's, criminal's, one has to be a hindu ignorant or borne in hind, filth of hinduism, ignorance, way of hindu's blinded, not living but mentally dead.
    Word hindu is driven from latin word hindered, negative, Hun, great, Han, to be in greatness, hin, to be negative to both of them, hindu, a noun in negativity, hinduism, way of negativity. to learn source of hinduism, racism, way of hindu's, criminals, please visit limitisthetruth.com.

    November 6, 2012 at 11:25 am |
  16. Reality

    Only for new members of this blog-

    Putting the kibosh/”google” on religion to include HInduism:

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations/reborn and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

    November 6, 2012 at 10:12 am |
    • ....


      November 6, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • Reality

      Added details:


      Joe Smith had his Moroni. (As does M. Romney)

      "Latter-day Saints like M. Romney also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

      Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

      Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).

      Jesus and his family had/has Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day demon of the demented. (As does BO and his family)(As do Biden and Ryan)

      The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

      Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie/horn-blowing thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.

      November 6, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • ....


      November 6, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • Reality

      As requested:

      The Apostles' Creed 2012: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

      Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
      and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      (references used are available upon request)

      November 6, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • Ben Rast

      Self righteous trolls like you give the rest of us atheists a bad name. You are no better than the close minded evangelicals you love to trash. Your beliefs don't make you better or smarter than someone who chooses to believe in some religion. Fundamentally you can't prove there is no god. You can demonstrate that there is no need for a god. You can prove that much of the mythos of a given religion is false. That, however, only proves that the books were written by primitive men seeking to give order to a world they hadn't fully understood yet. I'll take a moderate religious person, who understands that their texts are fallible and their beliefs only their own, over an insufferable ass like you any day of the week

      November 7, 2012 at 2:50 am |
    • Just tune her out

      Nevermind Reality. She's just a cut-and-paste dingbat, who like the Prayer Troll never stops putting up the same drivel.

      The thing about being human is that no matter how noble and honorable your philosophy, you will always find that some of the people who share that outlook are total dumbshits who will makeyou rethink whether you want to be associated with them.

      November 7, 2012 at 3:03 am |
  17. Chris Maurice

    MCR – If only many others were as mature as you. Great post.

    November 6, 2012 at 9:50 am |
    • christopher hitchens

      If only many others could find the reply key. Loser.

      November 6, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • Akira

      Um, chrissy, some mobile versions do not display a reply button. What is your problem? Not everyone is drinking your kool-aid today? Grow up.

      November 6, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • christopher hitchens

      Not my problem A go F yourself.

      November 6, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • Akira

      Mature answer, chrissy old buddy. If you're going to complain about people not replying, make sure you know whether or not they have access to one.

      November 6, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
  18. Canton

    Let's us make golden images for ourselves and worship them! Pagans, atheists , what's the diff?

    November 6, 2012 at 7:27 am |
    • christopher hitchens

      Pagans may yet find redemption, no one wants atheists.

      November 6, 2012 at 7:31 am |
    • Sane Person

      Let us write a book about a made-up god so we can worship him!

      Christians, Hindus, what's the difference?

      November 6, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • Mirosal

      Atheists don't worship golden images. There's your "diff".

      November 6, 2012 at 8:49 am |
    • MCR

      Oh, for goodness sake people,this is a largely secular holiday for most educated Indians, grow up and enjoy the fact we all have myths and stories in our past. Christmas and Diwaili are great holidays arizing from long tradition, and they don't belong only to the religious...we all share in the history and have equal claim. Negativity never gave anyone a good life...

      November 6, 2012 at 9:11 am |
  19. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    November 6, 2012 at 6:53 am |
    • Huebert

      Lets test that claim. 😀

      November 6, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • TrollAlert

      "Ronald Regonzo" who degenerates to:
      "Salvatore" degenerates to:
      "Douglas" degenerates to:
      "truth be told" degenerates to:
      "Thinker23" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "another repentant sinner" degenerates to:
      "Dodney Rangerfield" degenerates to:
      "tina" degenerates to:
      "captain america" degenerates to:
      "Atheist Hunter" degenerates to:
      "Anybody know how to read? " degenerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "ImLook'nUp" degenerates to:
      "Kindness" degenerates to:
      "Chad" degenerates to
      "Bob" degenerates to
      "nope" degenerates to:
      "2357" degenerates to:
      "WOW" degenerates to:
      "fred" degenerates to:
      "!" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert"

      This troll is not a christian.

      November 6, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • christopher hitchens

      This morning troll alert gets up with two choices, be a human being or be an ass hole guess we know what it chose. Hal / phony jesus/ =o= / (.) / troll alert = the same ass hole.

      November 6, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs.

      November 6, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • TrollAlert

      Add "christopher hitchens" degenerates to: – to the list.

      November 6, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • christopher hitchens

      You fvcken phony.

      November 6, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • rob harris

      Scientific Inaccuracy of the Bible

      A. Earth is about 6000 years old, as calculated from the genealogies in Gen and Luke 3. (see the problem of a young earth later in the outline)

      B. Birds were created before land animals (Gen 1:20, 24). – Fossil record shows exact opposite

      C. Earth has four corners, and floats on water (Isa 11:12, Ps 24:2, 136:6, Rev 7:1).

      D. Earth is a circular disk (Isa 40:22).

      E. Earth is flat (these verses were used for centuries by the church to prove this: Ps 93:1, Jer 10:13, Dan 4:10-11, Zech 9:10, Matt 4:8, Rev 1:7)

      F. Earth does not move (Ps 93:1, 96:10, 104:5, 1 Chr 16:30).

      G. Death or illness is caused by sin (Gen 2:17, Lev 26:16, 21, 25, Deut 7:15, 28:21, 27, James 1:15).

      H. God himself believes that a house or clothes can have leprosy and he details the remedy. Lev 13, 14.

      I. Seed must "die" before it grows (John 12:24, 1 Cor 15:36).

      J. Snakes eat dust (Gen 3:14, Isa 65:25).

      K. Every beast shall fear man (Gen 9:2).

      L. The ostrich abandons her eggs (Job 39:13-16).

      M. A river divides into four rivers and they flow in different directions (Gen 2:10).

      N. There was no rainbow before Noah's time (Gen 9:11-17).

      O. Thunder is God's voice (Ps 77:18).

      P. Earthquakes are caused by God's anger (Job 9:5, Ps 18:7, 77:18, 97:4, Isa 2:19, 24:20, 29:6, Jer 10:10, Ezek 38:20, Nah 1:5). Or by his voice (Heb 12:26). Or by Lucifer (Isa 14:16).

      Q. Earthquakes can occur in heaven (Heb 12:26).

      R. Rainwater does not return to the sky (Isa 55:10).

      S. Blood is "life" (Deut 12:23). Breath is "life" (Gen 2:7).

      T. Moon will turn to blood (Acts 2:20).

      U. The moon has a light of its own (Isa 13:10, Matt 24:29).

      V. The stars can be made to fall (Matt 24:29, Mark 13:25).

      W. The bat is a bird (Lev 11:13,19, Deut 14:11, 18).

      X. The whale is a fish (Jonah 1:17, Matt 12:40).

      Y. Whales were created before insects (Gen 1:21-24).

      Z. Jonah is able to survive three days and nights in the belly of the fish without oxygen and without being digested (Jonah1:17, 2:10).

      A1. The hare chews the cud (Lev 11:5-6).

      B1. Some fowl and insects have four legs (Lev 11:20-23).

      C1. Levi existed as a person in the loins of his great-grandfather (Heb 7:9-10).

      D1. Cattle will produce striped offspring if they see striped poles when breeding (Gen 30:37-41).

      E1. Bees will build a hive in a dead carcass (Judg 14:8).

      F1. Salt can lose its saltiness (Matt 5:13, Mark 9:50, Luke 14:34).

      G1. Slugs / Snails melt as they move (Ps 58:8)

      November 13, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
  20. MCR

    A truly beautiful festival. I love all of the different holidays of lights, and this is one of the prettiest.

    November 6, 2012 at 6:00 am |
    • christopher hitchens

      And yet none of them will inherit the Kingdom of God unless they repent and accept Jesus as their savior.

      November 6, 2012 at 7:05 am |
    • tallulah13

      Since hindusim is older than the judeo-christian tradition, maybe christians rethink their own beliefs. Since there isn't any proof that ANY god exists, perhaps christians should just chill out and accept that their beliefs are no more special than anyone else's.

      November 6, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • christopher hitchens

      Christianity is an extension of Judaism that dates to the creation of the world, so go F yourself tallulah.

      November 6, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • Huebert


      Reading your response gave me the best laugh I've had all day 🙂

      Thanks bro.

      November 6, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • tallulah13

      History and reality show otherwise, fake hitchens.

      November 6, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • nope


      November 6, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • Akira

      Would Jesus tell someone to go fvck themselves? I think not.

      November 6, 2012 at 11:42 am |
    • Spencer

      christopher hitchens, you obviously did not get the memo. Hindus get reincarnated.

      November 6, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • rob harris

      christopher hitchens : And what did your Christianity give you ? A third world country with the below characteristics:

      (i) Unable to restore the power in a few states for more than 10+ days, since a tornado passed by it
      (ii) Unable to restore power for 7+ days in a snowy North Eastern state, since a hurricane passed by it
      (iii) Having no quality in science, math and technology; depending on "imports" to uplift them (or depending on Jesus to save them)
      (iv) Horrible crime in downtown, ghettos of any major city
      (v) Unemployment of 23%
      (vi) Having a president who believes that the earth is 6000 years old
      (vii) Having a presidential candidate which believes in subjugating women
      (viii) Having more than 50% of its 2012 graduates un/under-employed
      (ix) No public transport, resulting in hell on earth even for a small rise in crude-oil prices
      (x) A crappy health care system
      (xi) A debt of 14Trillion, which corresponds to 50K per US resident.

      November 13, 2012 at 11:58 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.