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Deepavali date change

By Murray Bourne, 06 Apr 2009

Deepavali (also known as Diwali) is celebrated by Indians, Sri Lankans and Nepalese every year between 13th October and 14th November. The word "deepavali" literally means "row of lanterns" and the festival is known as the "festival of lights". It celebrates the triumph of good over evil in the individual.

Deepavali is also a national holiday in Singapore. There is a significant proportion of people (almost 9%) from India and surrounding countries here.

This is what Singapore's Ministry of Manpower said in their "Public Holidays 2009" site when it was published in the middle of 2008:

National holiday for Deepavali. The date, 15 November 2009, for Deepavali needs to be checked against the Indian Almanacs when they become available towards the end of 2008. Should there be a change in date, the Ministry of Manpower will announce it towards the end of 2008.

Well, indeed the original date given was quite wrong. The following email arrived today:

The Ministry of Manpower has announced that this year Deepavali will fall on 17 October 2009 instead of the earlier announced 15 November 2009.

Here's an overview of the background to the date of Deepavali (and others) by Helmer Aslaksen, the guru of every imaginable calendar. The story involves math, culture, language and religion.

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