When I think of Diwali, it is not the crackers or the noise that comes to mind. Surprisingly, it is not even the smog. My mother decorates a formation of diyas in the living room each year, and switches off all lights. That's when the power of light conquering darkness, really dawned upon me.
If you thought Diwali was the only festival of light in the world, you are in for a surprise. We take you through some of the other festivals of light celebrated across the globe:
1. Aomori Nebuta Matsuri - Japan
Held from August 2 to August 7 each year, this is a Japanese summer festival where colourful parades are held across Aomori (a Japanese city). Enormous floats depicting Japanese gods and mythological beings are paraded around and it's quite a visual spectacle.
2. Las Fallas - Spain
Taking place in Valencia, the festival gets its name from the Latin word 'fax' which means 'torch'. It basically includes setting a bunch of things on fire, and therefore it is no surprise that this is the hottest festival.
3. Festival of Lights - Lyon, France
The festival takes place on December 8 every year, to express gratitude toward Mary, mother of Jesus. Much like Diwali, every house places candles outside windows. The festival usually lasts 4 days.
A festival celebrated by Jews all over the world, it is observed for a period of eight nights and days anywhere between the end of November and December. It all starts with lighting eight candles.
5. Festival of Lights - Berlin, Germany
It is an annual event which takes place in October, each year. It was started in 2004, and the latest entrant to the list of festivals of light. All major and popular landmarks are illuminated during the 9 days. It is now extremely popular among tourists and locals alike.
6. Lantern festival - China
Celebrated on the fifteenth day of the Lunar year, which falls anywhere between late February and March. The festival is a sight to see so many lanterns floating, making a constellation of their own.
7. Chinese Lunar Year
Preceding the Lantern festival on the 15th day of the Lunar calendar, the Chinese also celebrate their new year with lights and lanterns.
8. St Martin's Day - Netherlands
Celebrated in Netherlands as their own version of Halloween, the festival takes place on November 11 each year.
9. Loi Krathong - Thailand
The name of the festival literally translates to 'float a basket' which involves a beautifully decorated basket in a river. It falls on the 12th day of the Lunar Thai calendar, usually in November.
10. Pingxi Lantern Festival - Taiwan
Similar to China's Lantern Festival, the tourism department of Taiwan celebrates by floating Pingxi lanterns. They used to originally be used as a sign that the town is safe.
11. Night Of The Witches - Mexico
The festival takes place in the Mexican town of Catemaco, where witches and healers descend to perform a mass cleansing ceremony to rid them of negative energies. It takes place on the first Friday of March.
12. Keene Pumpkin Festival - New Hampshire, USA
Taking place each year before Halloween, this pumpkin festival sees residents get together to meet or break the record for the highest number of jack-o-lanterns in the world.
13. Bonfire Night - Lewes, England
Celebrated on 4th or 5th November, the festival not only marks the night of Guy Fawkes but it also has many religious implications.
14. Winter Illuminations Festival, Japan
Taking place between late October all the way to March the next year, the festival is entirely dedicated to the region's flower showers. And they are recreated using thousands of LED lights.
You don't need just Diwali to celebrate the magic of lights. Pay a visit to these places.