The common thread between Christmas and Diwali is the festive spirit found in the air. These are major celebrations that are undertaken in vastly different regions of the globe. The festivals of Diwali and Christmas are celebrated by people from varied walks of life and the cultures and values followed in their respective lifestyles. Both the festivals feature a heavy importance in the life of the people who celebrate them.
Diwali vs Christmas
The main difference between Diwali and Christmas is that while Diwali is predominantly celebrated by the people belonging to the Indian subcontinent. On the other hand, Christmas fever affects the whole world, with a whopping forty-five percent of the entire population engaging in Christmas celebrations. The geography in which the respective festivals are celebrated defines the cultural and social composition of the people involved.
Diwali, popularly known as the festival of lights, is celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and select Buddhists in several countries such as India, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Guyana, etc, many of which declare Diwali as a national holiday. This vibrant festival lasts five entire days.
Christmas is considered the most famous festival across the world, with billions of people rooting around for their box of decorations, at the end of each year. Celebrated on 25th December, Christmas is considered the date of Jesus Christ’s birth. This festival is considered a public holiday on several continents and holds the card for the most observed cultural and religious celebration.
Comparison Table Between Diwali and Christmas
|Parameters of Comparison||Diwali||Christmas|
|History||The origin of Diwali is traced back to several Hindu gods and goddesses, with some theories being more popular than the others.||Christmas is celebrated all over the world to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem.|
|Date of Celebration||Diwali is typically celebrated twenty days after Dussehra[another Indian festival]. Therefore, the date of Diwali can vary anytime between October to November.||Though the precise date of Christ’s birth is unknown, the twenty-fifth of December has been decided as the day chosen to honor the birth of Jesus Christ.|
|Geography||Diwali is a significant festival in Indian culture that is celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and select Buddhists all over the world.||Christmas is celebrated across the world by a majority of Christians, and a sizable portion of non-Christians.|
|Celebration||Known as the festival of lights, Diwali is celebrated by lighting lamps, seeing loved ones, and worshipping Hindu deities.||The ultimate festival, Christmas involves presents, food, holly wreaths, and the red-green adornment of the ritual Christmas trees.|
|Duration||The festival of Diwali typically ranges up to five days, filled with rangolis and fireworks marking the heavens and the floor.||The Christmas celebrations and the ensuing decorations usually begin mid-December while the linger of this season lasts long and strong.|
What is Diwali?
Diwali, the Indian festival of color is filled with vibrance, rangolis, diyas, fireworks, and gifts. Diwali is celebrated 20 days after Dussehra, between mid-October to mid-November for a total of five days.
The term Diwali, derived from the Sanskrit word dīpāvali literally translates into a row or series of lights.
Symbolized for the defeat of darkness, it is celebrated for the day Goddess Lakshmi was born from Samudra Manthan, the churning of the cosmic ocean of milk by the gods and demons. It is also celebrated for the successful return of Lord Rama from his exile. Diwali is also considered to be a fusion of harvest festivals from ancient India. Several other theories exist for the cause of Diwali.
A unanimously celebrated festival, Diwali sees people dressed in their finest clothes, cleaning and decorating their homes, lighting diyas as a symbol of light, bursting fireworks in their show of joy, meeting the near and dear, exchanging gifts, and worshipping.
The ritual of celebration begins by cleaning homes and workspaces on the first day, followed by Naraka Chaturdashi that praises the victory of Lord Krishna over Narakasur. Lakshmi Puja marks the third day of this festival, and Govardhan Puja is prayed on the fourth day. The fifth and final day is known as Vishwakarma Puja or the Bhai Dooj.
The third day, i.e the day of Lakshmi Puja is declared an official holiday in India, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Guyana, Fiji, Mauritius, Trinidad, and Tobago.
What is Christmas?
Christmas, also less popularly known as Noël, Nativity, and Xmas is the annual commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Since the accurate date of Lord Christ’s birth to John and Mary in Bethlehem could not be found, the 25th of December had been decided by the church in the fourth century to honor this event as the 25th of December coincides with winter solstice under the Roman calendar.
Considered to be the world’s most popular festival, Christmas is celebrated counting down twelve days, with the Twelfth being Christmas.
The term Christmas is an abbreviation for Christ’s Mass. Christmas is also known by several other names such as midwinter, Gēola, Nātiuiteð used in different parts of the world.
Jesus Christ is considered to be the son of God, who sacrificed his life for the sake of humanity, giving birth to the earth’s biggest culture, Christianity. Christmas is celebrated all over the world by Christian and several non-Christians.
This season of merry and joy is observed by exchanging gifts, an extensive feast, Christmas trees, carols, cakes, and lighted decorations. And Santa Claus, the Father of Christmas who is tasked with providing children gifts far and wide. Christmas follows a twelve-day celebration, with Boxing Day observed on the 26th of December.
Main Differences Between Diwali and Christmas
- Diwali is celebrated for five days between mid-October and mid-November. Christmas is celebrated for twelve days, the last being 25th of December.
- Majorly celebrated by Indians across the world, Diwali is a pivotal festival in Indian culture. Over forty five percent of the world’s population engages in Christmas celebrations, making it the most famous festival. Both the festivals are declared public holidays in several countries.
- Diwali honors the victory of Hindu deities over darkness, praising Lord Krishna, Goddess Lakshmi, Goddess Kali, Lord Rama. Christmas is celebrated to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ.
- Diwali is traditionally celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, originating from the subcontinent of India. Christmas is celebrated by Christians and several non-Christians.
- Both the festivals follow the tradition of exchanging gifts and preparing elaborate feasts. Diwali is celebrated by lighting lamps and fireworks and Christmas sees decorations illuminating the households.
While Christmas celebrates the birth of light and Diwali celebrates the vanquishing of darkness, at the core, both these festivals are positive reminders of their respective cultures. The festival of Diwali is filled with light, color, and joy and the same apply to Christmas. People meet their loved ones, exchange gifts and a good meal during Christmas. With slight variations, the same occurs during Diwali.
The festivity that leads up to the two of these festivals is unmissable, with each one sharing several similarities and some differences. Whether it be the jingle of bells or the boom of fireworks, festivals bring people closer and help celebrate life in its essence.
Happy Diwali and Merry Christmas!