Diwali or Divali also known as Deepavali and the “festival of lights”,
is an ancient Hindu festival celebrated in autumn every year. The festival spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness,
knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, and hope over despair.
The festival preparations and rituals typically extend over a five day period,
but the main festival night of Diwali coincides with the darkest,
new moon night of the Hindu Lunisolar month Kartika.
In the Gregorian calendar, Diwali night falls between mid-October and mid-November.
Before Diwali night, people clean, renovate and decorate their homes and offices.
On Diwali night, Hindus dress up in new clothes or their best outfit, light up diyas (lamps and candles)
inside and outside their home, participate in family puja (prayers) typically to Lakshmi –
the goddess of wealth and prosperity.
After puja, fireworks follow,then a family feast including mithai (sweets),
and an exchange of gifts between family members and close friends.
Diwali also marks a major shopping period in nations where it is celebrated.