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Indian Festivals

Diwali

Diwali is a major Indian festival that is very significant in Hinduism and Jainism. Known as the "Festival of Lights," it symbolizes the victory of good over evil, and lamps (called diyas or kandils) are lit as a sign of celebration and hope for humankind. The lights also represent the time when Rama came back from the forest, and all his village lit lamps to welcome him back home. Celebrations focus on lights and lamps, particularly traditional dipa or deeya (earthen lamp, as illustrated). Fireworks are associated with the festival. Diwali is a colloquial name used in North India, while the festival is formally called Deepavali in South India.
Diwali is celebrated for five consecutive days at the end of Hindu month of Kartika (purminata) or Ashwayuja (amanta). It usually occurs in October/November, and is one of the most popular and eagerly awaited festivals in India. Diwali comes exactly twenty days after Dussehra. Hindus, Jains and Sikhs alike regard it as a celebration of life and use the occasion to strengthen family and social relationships. For Hindus it is one of the most important festivals, and beginning of the year in some Hindu calendars. There are several beliefs regarding the origin of the holiday. The most repeated version is that Hindus celebrate Diwali to mark the time when Lord Rama achieved victory over Ravana. Some also view it as the day Krishna defeated the demon Narakasura or in honor of the day Bali went to rule the nether-world, obeying the order of Vishnu. In Jainism it marks the nirvana of Lord Mahavira, which occurred on Oct. 15, 527 BCE. It is also a significant festival for the Sikh faith. In India, Diwali is now considered to be more of a national festival, and the aesthetic aspect of the festival is enjoyed by most Indians regardless of faith.

Diwali in other parts of the worlds



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