Diwali (also called Deepavali) the major Hindu usually takes place eighteen days after Dusshera in the month of karthika or ashwin (October/November) colloquially known as the “Festival of Lights,” it symbolises the victory of good over evil, and people traditionally lit lamps and place them around the home, in courtyards, verandahs and gardens as a sign of celebration and hope for mankind. It is celebrated throughout India, as well as in Indian communities throughout the diaspora. Hindus, Jains and Sikhs alike regard it as a celebration of life and use the occasion to strengthen family and social relationships.
As with other Indian festivals, Diwali signifies many different things to people across the country. In north India, Diwali celebrates Rama’s homecoming that is his return to Ayodhya after the defeat of Ravana and his coronation as king; in Gujarat, the festival honors Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth; and in Bengal, it is associated with the goddess Kali. The lighting of the lamps is explained as a material substitute for the light of holy knowledge that was extinguished with Mahavira’s passing. Everywhere, it signifies the renewal of life, and accordingly it is common to wear new clothes on the day of the festival; similarly, it heralds the approach of winter and the beginning of the sowing season. The North Indian business community usually starts their financial new year on Diwali and new account books are opened on this day.
The celebration of Diwali festival is invariably accompanied by the exchange of sweets and the explosion of fireworks. Crackers resound and light up the earth and the sky. The faces of boys and girls flow with a rare charm in their dazzling hues and colors. And all this illumination and fireworks, joy and festivity, is to signify the victory of divine forces over those of wickedness.
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