Where to Celebrate Diwali Around the World?

by - September 30, 2017

The Diwali celebrations make cities around the world come alive with fireworks, parades and colorful decorations. Do you wonder where it is best to join the Diwali celebrations? The most important festival of the Indian calendar, the Festival of Lights, or Diwali lasts five days. Its dates are determined by the lunar calendar. The most significant day of the festivities is the first night of the new moon of the Indian month of Kartika.

Whatever the date on which it is celebrated each year, millions of Jains, Sikhs and Indians around the world mark the event with light ceremonies, celebratory meals, and fireworks. So wherever you are in the world, find the center of the Diwali celebration that is closest to you.

Diwali celebrations in London, United Kingdom

The Neasden neighborhood, northwest of London, is home to the most traditional Indian temple outside of India. So it is not surprising that it is the site of the largest Diwali celebrations in the United Kingdom. Devotees gather at the Neasden Temple or BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir to pray, make food offerings, or Prasad, and celebrate.

There are garlands of jasmine and yellow flowers that decorate the complex, along with rangoli patterns made of rice, paint and flower petals. The oil lamps made of clay, or diyas, are lit to welcome Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. Try the samosas and the jalebi from the food stalls before the magnificent fireworks display at night.

Diwali celebrations in Toronto, Canada

Toronto is a city of neighborhoods, and where you have to go to during Diwali is Little India. Located on a stretch of Gerrard Street East, this is where Gerrard India Bazaar, the largest ethnic market in South Asia in North America, hosts magic and dance shows. Tattoo artists with henna, food vendors and music are part of the festivities.

If Diwali and Eid a-Fitr are held close to each other, a joint Diwali-Eid festival is held. It is a true testament to the diversity of the communities of Toronto. Fireworks are restricted in downtown Toronto. So if what you want is fireworks, head to the nearby BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir. Be sure to visit other neighborhoods of the city while in Toronto, close to bustling Chinatown.

Diwali celebrations in Durban, South Africa

Considered the largest "Indian" city outside of India, Durban celebrates Diwali during a free three-day festival. There are floats, fireworks, and food at the former Drive-in site on Sylvester Ntuli Road. The celebrations include a parade through the streets. Decorated floats transport dancers, musicians and statues of Indian deities along Doctor Goonam Street to the site of the celebration.

Along with a program of bhajans (religious songs) and an aarti, there is a ceremony of offerings of lights. There is also a brilliant display of fireworks, and music and dance shows, which often include international stars. Reasons to stay late include live music, craft stalls, and many food vendors. Try the Durban specialty, bunny chow, a loaf of bread stuffed with curry.

Diwali celebrations in New York, USA

It is appropriate that the largest square in New York is the venue for the celebration of the Festival of Lights. The extravagant eight-hour celebration in Times Square is the largest Asian-Indian cultural event in the United States with the assistance of Bollywood stars and international singers.

The first celebrations include fashion shows and dance competitions. A lighting ceremony of oil lamps or Diya is displayed on a giant screen. Along with the food vendors, you will find stalls selling clothing, crafts, and accessories. The day culminates with avant-garde digital fireworks and a "Light Up Times Square" concert.

Diwali celebrations in Little India, Singapore

The always bustling Little India neighborhood, along Serangoon Road, is at the center of Singapore's Diwali celebrations. There are arches with colorful decoration that stand on the streets. Garlands of flowers and bright lights decorate the front of the shops. The festivities include an outdoor concert, a procession of Golden Carts from Sri Mariamman Temple in Chinatown.

There is a Deepavali Festival Village. It is a large bazaar along Campbell Lane and Hastings Road, full of food vendors, henna artists and Chai Wallahs who serve sweet tea. Make a stop at the ornate Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, one of the most important temples in Little India, to see its Diwali decorations.

Diwali celebrations in Hong Kong

Since state laws prohibit fireworks and firecrackers, Diwali in Hong Kong is a relatively quiet local event. But that does not mean visitors cannot enjoy the celebrations. Many restaurants are decorated in a colorful way and serve special menus, while some clubs organize Bollywood nights. In the most spiritual aspect, there are prayers and food offerings in the most important Indian Temple of Hong Kong in Happy Valley and the temple of Kowloon in Tsim Sha Tsui. Both are decorated with garlands and oil lamps. Also in Tsim Sha Tsui, Chungking Mansions, in the style of a bazaar, is full of customers who buy Indian sweets, movies, food, and clothes during Diwali.

Take a look at these Diwali destinations in India

Diwali celebrations in Varanasi

Varanasi testifies to the Diwali celebrations, with millions of lights and millions of people. Start your day with the Ganga Snan ritual (bath in the Ganga), followed by an exploration of the bustling street markets that sell Diwali sweets and brightly colored clothes. On a boat ride at dusk, you can soak in the view of the lamps by the shore as they slowly illuminate the darkness, and the spiritual aura lent by the songs and recitals on the river bank. The festivities culminate in noisy and colorful firecrackers that soar into every little lane of the city.

Dev Deepawali in Varanasi

Fifteen days after Diwali, Dev Deepawali is a unique festival held on the banks of the Ganga River in Varanasi. It is said that on this day, the Gods come down to celebrate Diwali. All 84 ghats are cleaned and decorated with flowers, Rangolis, and lamps. The river comes to life with the flickering flames as the floating offers are thrown over the Ganges. The annual Ganga Mahotsav takes place three days before Dev Deepawali. It has cultural performances, craft exhibitions and of course food.

Tips: Varanasi is well connected by train to Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata and more other Indian cities.

Diwali celebrations in Amritsar

The city of the Golden Temple is a delight at any time of the year. But especially in Diwali, which coincides with the Sikh celebrations of Bandi Chhor Divas. It is celebrated to mark the return of the sixth Sikh guru, Guru Hargobind Ji, from Mughal's imprisonment. Special kirtans (prayers) echo through the city as the golden temple bathes in light. It is a feast for any photography enthusiast.

The Golden Temple in Amritsar is by itself an attraction, with its golden dome and elaborate decorations. But during Diwali, when it attracts thousands of devotees and visitors, this revered place of Sikh devotion is even more unforgettable. The Sikhs celebrate Diwali for different reasons, but with a similar intensity. The temple complex and lake offer an impressive view of oil lamps and floating candles. The night air vibrates with the sound of fireworks and firecrackers. Street food vendors sell delicious Indian snacks and sweets called mithai.

Tips: Frequent flights connect Delhi to Amritsar. While train connections are available from all major cities.

Diwali celebrations in Jaipur and Udaipur

Celebrations in Jaipur begin in Dhanteras, the first of Diwali's five-day celebrations. Attractions such as Nahargarh Fort offer enchanting views after the darkness of the festivities. It includes breathtaking glimpses of the illuminated walled city.

The city of Udaipur is equally charming, with its majestic lakes shining with the reflection emitted by the palace lights and fireworks, creating endless photo opportunities. You can introduce the children to the real story of India or send them on a camel ride, and enjoy Marwari delights and collect ethnic Rajasthani souvenirs.

Tips: Jaipur is a five hour trip from Delhi. Udaipur can be reached by a night train from Jaipur, Delhi, and Mumbai.

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  1. Light into infinity - a wonderful idea :)

  2. Thanks for the informative post! I had always heard of Diwali but didn't know the details surrounding it.

  3. Many thanks for this short but informative post.

  4. A very happy Depavali to you and your family.

  5. your laddus are too tempting...

  6. This celebration must be very interesting. Enjoy this day!

  7. One of my fav festival and I miss it so much out here.

  8. Wonderful post. Wish you and your family a very Happy Diwali.

  9. Do you know that in Lyon (France) there is a Festival like this one? It has the same name and two years ago I went there on December.
    I like very much this kind of Festival.
    Have a nice day!
    Erika from Italy

  10. hi kalyan. i know generally about diwali, over here they call it depavali, where the hindus celebrate on a grand scale.
    i am sure over at your place, this is also the most celebrated event
    happy diwali to you and family- enjoy hte lights and the food

  11. I like the way that you captured the candles as though they run off into infinity Kalyan... well done....peter:)

  12. Hi Kalyan

    Excellent post...

    Fantastic photos, that shows every moment of festival...

    Normally in my place, deepavali is celebrates with fire-crackers and sweets. We light-up clay lamps on the occasion of ThirKarthika (Birthday of Lord Subramaniya/Karthikeya/Murugan), which happens in the month of november-december.

    thanks for sharing a wonderful post

    and also thanks for leaving a valuable comment about my new post...

  13. Ah- I can feel the burst of joy and light at this special festival.

    It's usually so grey and dark here in November that we really need something similar.

    Great shots!

  14. Beautiful, wish you Happy Diwali.

  15. Hello kalyan!

    Nice post and photo.

  16. Delightful composition of lights, gorgeous!

  17. Happy Deepavali to you and your family.

    Nice snap. Thanks for your comments on my DD's Pattu Paavadai for this Deepavali.

  18. Lovely post. I wish you and your loved ones a very happy Diwali!

  19. Wonderful post. I wish you a happy Diwali!

  20. This is truly beautiful Kalyan!
    Thank you for the information.
    I hope you are having a wonderful weekend.

  21. Hello, Kalyan.

    The view is mysterious.
    I seem to be made to do the heart refreshingly.

    Thank you.

  22. Wonderful post Kalyan. Diwali is such a wonderful festival. Everything is so bright and colorful and cheerful...
    My latest post has those diyas floating on the Ganges:)
    Have a fabulous sunday:)

  23. Wonderful !!!!!!!!!
    Greetings Andrzej.

  24. Your post enhances the festival delight kalyan! Very beautiful post and pictures describing the Diwali in a manner everyone could understand easily about our festival and increases the celebrating mood a lot. For me too it’s a favorite festival and couldn’t imagine a Diwali without sounds and lighting firecracker that animate our nights and lamps decorating our homes.

    I wish you Happy Diwali buddy, hope u have a delighted, enchanting and very safe celebration at home along friends and families. Take care and enjoy alike :)

  25. Such a beautiful idea to think on (and a gorgeous image too)...thank you.

  26. Hi Kalyan, thanks for visiting my blog and for the nice comment.
    Love your Diwali lights. Enjoy your day and Happy Diwali.

  27. hi kalyan, wishing you and your family a happy diwali..enjoy yourselves with all the shopping and cooking of special foodies for the celebration. take care

  28. Hi Dear, Enjoy your festival..
    we South Asians are really colorful people :) our festivals are also full of life n colors,,isn't it??
    Have fun & Enjoy!!

  29. Happy Diwaly
    WONDERFUL post :)

    Enjoy the light festival !!!

  30. Wish you and your family a very happy and prosperous Diwali.
    Very beautiful post.

  31. Such a wonderful post with so many truly beautiful images. A happy Diwali to you and yours also.