Light Over Darkness

Although the Gregorian calendar, a solar calendar, is in common and legal use in most countries, traditional lunar and lunisolar calendars continue to be used throughout the Old World to determine religious festivals and national holidays. Such holidays include Ramadan (Islamic calendar); the Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Mongolian New Year (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Mongolian calendars); the Nepali New Year (Nepali calendar); the Mid-Autumn Festival and Chuseok (Chinese and Korean calendars); Loi Krathong (Thai calendar); Sunuwar calendar and Rosh Hashanah (Hebrew calendar).


One of those lunisolar festivals is Diwali from the Hindu calendar which is celebrated today.

Diwali is the Indian festival of lights, usually lasting five days and celebrated during the Hindu Lunisolar month Kartika (between mid-October and mid-November).

It is one of the most popular festivals of Hinduism. Like many other cultures and traditions, it symbolizes the spiritual “victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance”.

The festival is usually associated with Lakshmi, goddess of prosperity, though regional celebrations connect it to other figures.

Rangoli for Diwali in India by artist Dr. Nilima Surve.

One part of the celebration is rangoli, an art form, originating in the Indian subcontinent, in which patterns are created on the floor or the ground using materials such as colored rice, colored sand, quartz powder, or flower petals. It is usually made during Diwali or other Hindu festivals and designs are passed from one generation to the next, keeping both the art form and the tradition alive. The purpose of rangoli is to feel strength, generosity, and good luck. They are traditionally done by girls or women, although that has changed in modern times.