Today at work this tall tall Māori guy I’ve seen in before came right up to the desk and was like “Right! Do you have any jokes today?”
So I’m blinking as my brain runs through the panic ‘oh my god i didn’t know i was supposed to prepare a joke i know a million jokes but what are they oh help i cannot bear this comedy spotlight’ and come up with a hesitant: “What do you call cheese that doesn’t belong to you… Nacho cheese!” (thanks skins)
And he cracks up he loves it, and starts coming back with brilliant ones like “two mushrooms sitting in a pot, one turns to the other and says, there’s not much room in here!” and this string of other dad-jokes and then he gets quiet and serious and he’s like “you know, I truly believe jokes like these are the way to get our people talking again and put this country back together.”

And that is my best work story of the day hands down.


Happy Diwali / Deepavali! Here’s images of its celebration on six continents.

Getty Images

And in Durban in South Africa this little girl lights a clay lamp

South Africa (2006)


Starbroek News

Happy Diwali: A man lights diyas outside the GR Taxi Service base on Sheriff Street last evening as the country celebrated Diwali.

Guyana (2010)



Diwali Celebrations in Singapore

Singapore (2010s?)


Diwali on the Square

UK (2010s?)


Grahame Cox

Diwali festival rocks Aotea Square

New Zealand (2011)



Michelle Obama lit a diya at the White House Diwali celebrations

US, Washington DC (2013)


And what’s the reason for the season? Subhamoy Das of About Religion explains:

Historically, the origin of Diwali can be traced back to ancient India, when it was probably an important harvest festival . However, there are various legends pointing to the origin of Diwali or ‘Deepawali.’ Some believe it to be the celebration of the marriage of Lakshmi with Lord Vishnu.

Vishnukalyanam: Marriage of Lord Vishnu with Goddess Lakshmi

India (2000s?)

Kalamkari Painting on Cotton


Whereas in Bengal the festival is dedicated to the worship of Mother Kali , the dark goddess of strength. Lord Ganesha , the elephant-headed God, the symbol of auspiciousness and wisdom, is also worshiped in most Hindu homes on this day…

Diwali also commemorates the return of Lord Rama along with Sita and Lakshman from his fourteen year long exile and vanquishing the demon-king Ravana. In joyous celebration of the return of their king, the people of Ayodhya, the Capital of Rama, illuminated the kingdom with earthen diyas (oil lamps) and burst crackers.

Sahib Din

Rama Returns to Ayodhya

India (1600s)


These Four Days

Each day of Diwali has its own tale, legend and myth to tell. The first day of the festival Naraka Chaturdasi marks the vanquishing of the demon Naraka by Lord Krishna and his wife Satyabhama.

Amavasya , the second day of Deepawali, marks the worship of Lakshmi , the goddess of wealth in her most benevolent mood, fulfilling the wishes of her devotees. Amavasya also tells the story of Lord Vishnu, who in his dwarf incarnation vanquished the tyrant Bali, and banished him to hell. Bali was allowed to return to earth once a year, to light millions of lamps to dispel the darkness and ignorance, and spread the radiance of love and wisdom.

Vamana [an incarnation of Vishnu] as Trivikrama, depicted having three legs, one on the earth, a second raised in the heavens and a third on Bali’s head.

Nepal (1800s)

Opaque watercolor on paper


It is on the third day of Deepawali — Kartika Shudda Padyami that Bali steps out of hell and rules the earth according to the boon given by Lord Vishnu.

The fourth day is referred to as Yama Dvitiya (also called Bhai Dooj ) and on this day sisters invite their brothers to their homes.

The Significance of Lights & Firecrackers

All the simple rituals of Diwali have a significance and a story to tell. The illumination of homes with lights and the skies with firecrackers is an expression of obeisance to the heavens for the attainment of health, wealth, knowledge, peace and prosperity. According to one belief, the sound of fire-crackers are an indication of the joy of the people living on earth, making the gods aware of their plentiful state. Still another possible reason has a more scientific basis: the fumes produced by the crackers kill a lot of insects and mosquitoes, found in plenty after the rains.

The Tradition of Gambling

The tradition of gambling on Diwali also has a legend behind it. It is believed that on this day, Goddess Parvati played dice with her husband Lord Shiva , and she decreed that whosoever gambled on Diwali night would prosper throughout the ensuing year. Diwali is associated with wealth and prosperity in many ways, and the festival of ’ Dhanteras ’ (‘dhan’ = wealth; ‘teras’ = 13th) is celebrated two days before the festival of lights.

Shiva and Parvati Playing Dice

India, Ellora Caves (500s-700s)


From Darkness Unto Light…

In each legend, myth and story of Deepawali lies the significance of the victory of good over evil; and it is with each Deepawali and the lights that illuminate our homes and hearts, that this simple truth finds new reason and hope. From darkness unto light — the light that empowers us to commit ourselves to good deeds, that which brings us closer to divinity. During Diwali, lights illuminate every corner of India and the scent of incense sticks hangs in the air, mingled with the sounds of fire-crackers, joy, togetherness and hope. 

Diwali is celebrated around the globe . Outside India, it is more than a Hindu festival, it’s a celebration of South-Asian identities. If you are away from the sights and sounds of Diwali, light a diya , sit quietly, shut your eyes, withdraw the senses, concentrate on this supreme light and illuminate the soul.