The differences between Holi vs. Diwali

United States By Christy Lowry Feb 27, 2024

Are you curious about the vibrant colors and traditions of Holi and the radiant lights of Diwali? Explore the differences between Holi vs. Diwali, the global significance of these festivals, and how they connect people worldwide.

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Holi (Festival of Colors)

The Holi Festival, also known as the “Festival of Colors,” is a celebration that usually takes place in March, marking the arrival of spring. Holi is all about embracing diversity and spreading love and happiness. The most iconic part of Holi and what gives it its name are the brightly colored powders that get thrown into the air and on the crowd.

Celebrating Holi

Holi celebrations are all about having fun and letting go of your worries. During Holi, large crowds wearing white gather in the streets to throw water and colored powder, known as gulal, into the air and on each other. Holi is also known for its traditional sweets and savory snacks like gujiya and puran poli, as well as its folk music, traditional dances, and large bonfires.

Where is Holi celebrated?

Holi is predominantly celebrated in India and Nepal, but its popularity transcends borders. Mathura, Vrindavan, and Barsana in India are renowned for their elaborate Holi festivities. In recent years, Holi celebrations have also gained popularity in places with large Indian populations, including Canada, the U.K., and Australia.

Diwali (Festival of Lights)

Diwali, or Deepavali, is the “Festival of Lights” and is celebrated in the autumn months, usually in October or November. It holds immense cultural and religious significance in Hinduism, Jainism, and Sikhism. Diwali signifies the victory of light over darkness and the triumph of good over evil. The festival involves decorating homes, exchanging gifts, and lighting candles, lanterns, and diyas— oil lamps made from clay and mud.

Celebrating Diwali

Diwali is celebrated over five days. On the first day, participants prepare for the festivities by cleaning their homes. Then, they place diyas and candles at the entrance of their homes, workplaces, and temples to create a mesmerizing spectacle of light. On the second day, people decorate their floors with patterns made from sand or colored powders. On the third day of the festival, fireworks light up the night sky and families come together to exchange gifts and enjoy traditional sweets. The fourth day is the first day of the new year, and the celebration ends on the fifth day with brothers visiting their married sisters to share a meal.

Where is Diwali celebrated?

Diwali is widely celebrated not only in India but also in countries with large Indian communities, including Nepal, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and Fiji. The festival transcends religious and cultural boundaries, making it a shared celebration in many parts of the world. In India, cities like Varanasi, Jaipur, and Amritsar are known for their large-scale Diwali celebrations.

Holi and Diwali connect people around the world. In multicultural societies, including the United States, versions of these festivals have gained popularity as symbols of unity and diversity.

If you’re planning to send a gift to a loved one during Holi or Diwali, Western Union’s money transfer services and app can help simplify the process. We’re here to help bring people, families, and friends together across the world. Download our app today, send money online, or visit an agent location near you.