Library GraffitiDivali.  For the Love of Light…


Encyclopedia of Hinduism

Get the facts about this 5-day long Indian festival, which begins this year on Oct 26.  Divali is the Hindu festival of lights, and means literally, “row of lights,” of which many appear throughout the holiday.   Philosophically, Divali marks a passage from ignorance to knowledge.

Ref. BL1105 .J56

Dictionary of Hindu Lore and Legend

Identifies Divali (or Dipavali) as one of the “main festivals observed in India” (p. 73), and tells the tales of Yama, Lakshmi, Kali, Bali, Parvati and Krishna that inform this holiday.

Ref. BL1105 .D35

Religious Holidays and Calendars: An Encyclopedic Handbook

Locates Divali in the broad sweep of the ritual-rich Hinduism, on the “fifteenth day of the waning half of Kartika” (p 179), which falls in the western calendar in October or November.

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Encyclopedia of the Indian Diaspora

Discusses the festal life of Hindus in, among other places, the United States, where bharatanatyam (look it up!) especially plays a role in Diwali fairs.

Ref. DS432.5  .E53

Encyclopedia of Religion

The trusty stand-by for information on themes that cross the religions.  Look up “Light and Darkness” here for Divali’s place among world’s festivals of light.

Ref. BL31 .E46; online

Historical Dictionary of Jainism

Hindus aren’t the only ones who enjoy this diverse festival that tributes, among other things, the sibling relation of brother-sister. Get the Jain take on Divali:

Ref.  BL1303  .W45

The Pluralism Project at Harvard University

Great website for participant-observer accounts of religious observance across the U.S.  Enter Divali in the search box.  Also find Hindu temples in N.J.

* Warning: browsing reference books can be illuminating!

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