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Diwali/Deepavali in Canada

Diwali (Dīvali, Dīpāwali, or Deepavali) is a festival of lights observed in October or November each year.

Is Diwali/Deepavali a Public Holiday?

Diwali/Deepavali is not a public holiday. Businesses have normal opening hours.

Diwali is also known as the "Festival of Lights."

©iStockphoto.com/SoumenNath

What Do People Do?

Many Canadians celebrate Diwali, which is known as the “Festival of Lights”. It is a joyous festival that attracts plenty of media and public attention in Canada. Various community groups, businesses, schools and associations celebrate Diwali each year. Some companies have corporate Diwali dinners and some communities organize carnivals or gatherings that feature firework displays. Many Diwali festivals feature dances, street lighting, and plays.

Many women wear fine jewelry and silk outfits to celebrate Diwali. Some women and girls use mehendi, which is a temporary henna decoration, on their palms. Many homes that celebrate Diwali have assorted sweets, savories and Diwali herbs. Various lights, candles and sparklers are lit inside and outside homes, particularly in courtyards, on Diwali.

Public Life

Diwali is not a nationwide public holiday in Canada but it is a large festival celebrated in many towns and cities. There may be traffic congestion and parking places may be full in areas where events are held to celebrate Diwali. Some Indian businesses may close early on Diwali.

Background

Diwali is called the "Festival of Lights" and is celebrated to honor Rama-chandra, the seventh avatar (incarnation of the god Vishnu). It is believed that on this day Rama returned to his people after 14 years of exile during which he fought and won a battle against the demons and the demon king, Ravana. People lit their houses to celebrate his victory over evil (light over darkness).

The goddess of happiness and good fortune, Lakshmi, also figures into the celebration. It is believed that she roams the Earth on this day and enters the house that is pure, clean, and bright. Diwali celebrations may vary in different communities but its significance and spiritual meaning is generally “the awareness of the inner light”.

Symbols

Lamps, fireworks and bonfires illuminate this holiday, as the word “Deepawali” means “a row or cluster of lights” or “rows of diyas (clay lamps)”. The festival symbolizes the victory of righteousness and the lifting of spiritual darkness. The goddess Lakshmi, who symbolizes wealth, happiness and prosperity, is also worshipped during Diwali.

About Diwali/Deepavali in Other Countries

Read more about Diwali/Deepavali.

Diwali/Deepavali Observances

Holiday currently only shown for years 2005–2025.

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2005TueNov 1Diwali/DeepavaliObservance
2006SatOct 21Diwali/DeepavaliObservance
2007FriNov 9Diwali/DeepavaliObservance
2008TueOct 28Diwali/DeepavaliObservance
2009SatOct 17Diwali/DeepavaliObservance
2010FriNov 5Diwali/DeepavaliObservance
2011WedOct 26Diwali/DeepavaliObservance
2012TueNov 13Diwali/DeepavaliObservance
2013SunNov 3Diwali/DeepavaliObservance
2014WedOct 22Diwali/DeepavaliObservance
2015TueNov 10Diwali/DeepavaliObservance
2016SatOct 29Diwali/DeepavaliObservance
2017WedOct 18Diwali/DeepavaliObservance
2018WedNov 7Diwali/DeepavaliObservance
2019SunOct 27Diwali/DeepavaliObservance
2020SatNov 14Diwali/DeepavaliObservance
2021ThuNov 4Diwali/DeepavaliObservance
2022MonOct 24Diwali/DeepavaliObservance
2023SunNov 12Diwali/DeepavaliObservance
2024ThuOct 31Diwali/DeepavaliObservance
2025MonOct 20Diwali/DeepavaliObservance

While we diligently research and update our holiday dates, some of the information in the table above may be preliminary. If you find an error, please let us know.