Every year when I expect it the least, someone in India tell me that “next week is Diwali”. That means I have to warn our clients and partners in Norway: “Hi all, It’s Diwali again, Happy Diwali”. But what is Diwali?

Things tend to be more complicated in India then in the west. But this is also what so many westerners love, and would actually expect nothing less.

So, I am not trying to tear down the mystery fence surrounding India, sometimes I just need to simplify things a little.

That’s why I always find myself telling the same story: “Diwali is the Christmas of India”

Hoping that will set the right inner picture in the head of the person I am talking to.

Hoping our clients will enter “Christmas mode”, being forgiving about slightly reduced availability and service. Would they them self want to be in the office on Christmas day?

Hoping for the answer: “Ohhh really, already, great. Happy Diwali.”

However, we are only talking about a day or two, and we anyhow have to have team members available.

As you must have guessed, Diwali is the most holy of the holy holidays. It’s a major festival for Hindus, Sikhs and Jains. However I can confirm everyone else is also in on it, and I really like that.

Does it happen on a specific date?

No, obviously not, this is India we are talking about. So, unless you follow the Luni-solar Hindu calendar, the timing will be slightly unpredictable for you. For sure it should be unpredictable, or else the mystery wall would shrink.

But is it really like Christmas?

– lots of lights, candles and decorations all over. In the streets and in everyone’s homes.
– everyone is eating candy and sweets. Lots of it.
– everyone is dressing up in their finest newest clothes.
– family and friends gathering and eating great food together.
– friends exchanging cards and gifts.
– not to forget the religious side if it all, celebration of the good, love and the hope.

It sounds like Christmas to me. What do you think?

If you like it that simple, then just leave it there.

Since you have read this far, I assume you are fascinated by the fact that things are different in India, and that many things has evolved to over-complex.

Diwali doesn’t have a Jesus, Mary or Joseph. It doesn’t have a Santa Claus either. But it has plenty of Lord Rama, Sita, Lakhsmana and Krishna. If you want to go behind the scenes and really understand the history behind Diwali, you will be busy for some time. You will also find that of course the story is not one, but many, evolved differently based on where in India you are.

Nevertheless, Diwali is known as the Festival of lights. The word Diwali translates “row of lights”. You can be sure it is a spiritual side to that too. So what it’s all about, is certainly your inner light.

Diwali ki Shubhkamnayein.
(Happy Diwali)