10 Oct 2023
Diwali is a festival of lights and one of the major religious festivals in Hinduism, Jainism and Sikhism. Observances of Diwali differ depending on region and tradition.
The festival usually lasts 5 days and is celebrated during the Hindu lunisolar month Kartika (between mid-October and mid-November). In 2023, the 5 days of Diwali commence on 10 November. The main festivities for Diwali are held in India, but it is also celebrated in many other countries around the world. Many people will travel abroad to visit friends and relatives at this time.
Advice for travellers
The potential risks to your health will vary depending on your pre-existing general health and what activities you are planning whilst abroad. If you are planning on travelling to India to celebrate Diwali, you consider the following.
- Be aware that international travel guidance and event guidance may change at short notice.
- Review the latest FCDO foreign travel advice for India including entry requirements, quarantine restrictions and any challenges related to the climate (such as unusually high temperatures).
- Ensure you have valid travel insurance in place.
Check that you are up to date with vaccines for day to day life in the UK. In the past large gatherings of people in close contact, have been responsible for the transmission of highly infectious diseases such as measles and flu.
- Make sure you have had two doses of the MMR vaccine. For information on what to do if you're unsure if you've had 2 doses of the MMR vaccine, see NHS inform (Scotland) or NHS UK (rest of UK).
- Consider having the flu and COVID-19 vaccine (if eligible) before travel, particularly if you are more at risk of severe flu or COVID-19.
Review the India country page for information on health risks and information on disease outbreaks in the alerts section.
- If you think you may need travel health advice and/or vaccines or boosters before travel, you should arrange for a travel health risk assessment.
Excessive use of alcohol and/or illegal drugs can lead to an increase in risk-taking behaviours which may lead to accidents or injuries occurring.
- Carrying a simple first aid kit can help to self-manage basic health problems.
- Practicing safer sex and the use of condoms can help reduce the risk of blood borne viruses and other sexual health risks.
The temperatures in India can exceed 30’C.
- Make sure you keep well hydrated and seek shade during the hottest hours of the day, and consider wearing a hat / head covering.
- Practice sun safety to help reduce the risk of sunstroke and other heat disorders in warm weather, as well as skin cancer.
For further information on disease risks, other health risks and vaccination advice, see the India country page.
If you become unwell in the weeks/months after travel, particularly with a high temperature (fever), flu-like symptoms, confusion, rash and/or diarrhoea, you should seek prompt medical advice, and ensure you mention your travel history to the health professional.