What is Diwali ?
Diwali (English: /dɪˈwɑːliː/; Deepavali (IAST: dīpāvali) or Divali) is the Indian festival of lights, usually lasting five days and celebrated during the Hindu Lunisolar month Kartika (between mid-October and mid-November). One of the most popular festivals of Hinduism, Diwali symbolizes the spiritual “victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance”. The festival is widely associated with Lakshmi, goddess of prosperity, with many other regional traditions connecting the holiday to Sita and Rama, Vishnu, Krishna, Yama, Yami, Durga, Kali, Dhanvantari, or Vishvakarman. Furthermore, it is, in some regions, a celebration of the day Lord Rama returned to his kingdom Ayodhya after defeating the demon-king Ravana.
In the lead-up to Diwali, celebrants will prepare by cleaning, renovating, and decorating their homes and workplaces with diya and rangoli (oil lamps or candles),. During the Diwali people wear their finest clothes, illuminate the interior and exterior of their homes with diyas and rangoli, perform (Lakshmi puja) – worship ceremonies of Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity and wealth,[note 1] light fireworks, and partake in family feasts, where mithai (sweets) and gifts are shared. Diwali is also a major cultural event for the Hindu and Jain diaspora from the Indian subcontinent.
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