Diwali, the festival of lights, is one of the most celebrated festivals in India and people participate in it with much gusto. The festival generally falls on October every year and this year it is on November 7. Also known as Deepawali, the festival is observed nation-wide in the autumn season. The main festive night usually coincides with the Hindu Lunisolar month of Kartika in the Bikram Sambat calendar. According to the ‘Gregorian calendar’, however, Diwali night comes between mid-October and mid-November.
Days before Diwali, people clean their houses and workplaces and on the day of the festival they decorate their homes with lights and candles. Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped on that day as the devotees offer prayers to the goddess of wealth for materialistic abundance and prosperity. Later, fireworks are performed followed by offering sweets and exchange of gifts among families, friends and relatives.
The celebrations begin with Dhanteras, followed by ‘Narak Chaturdasi’ on the second day, Deepawali on Day 3, ‘Diwali Padwa’, which is dedicated to matrimony, on the fourth day and it all ends with ‘Bhai Dooj’, dedicated to the sister-brother bond on the fifth day. On Diwali night, Jains celebrate the attainment of salvation by Lord Mahavira, while ‘Bandi Chhor Diwas’ is celebrated among Sikhs to mark the release of Guru Hargobind Singh from a Mughal emperor. A majority of Buddhists celebrate Diwali by worshiping Laxmi.