By Ganga Brahma

Diwali is an important festival in India. It is popularly known as the “Festival of Lights and Wealth” for Indian people world over. Diwali marks the beginning of the new Samvat as it is believed that on the day of Diwali, a positive start brings in wealth and prosperity throughout the year. This festival is observed with a hope to attain success and bliss with the every light that is lit during the Diwali.

Besides the religious significance, the Diwali celebration reaches with the joy and happiness to such a pitch that the whole India is glowing like a lamp as millions of people in country lit special Diwali lamps, either earthen or electrical, and enjoy the fireworks.

Diwali is a mark of celebration of victory of good over evil. Every person irrespective of men, women and children enjoy Diwali. It is observed as one of the most important festivals in a year for Hindus. It is celebrated in families by performing traditional activities together in their homes. Generally people make fun and try their lot playing dice, cards, lotteries, dancing and singing, etc and exchange gifts and sweets, wish good luck, prosperity and happiness.

The Diwali is a five day festival which is celebrated during last fortnight of Hindu calendar month Kartik. The festival starts with Dhanteras on which most Indian business communities begin their financial year. The second day of the festival is called the Naraka Chaturdasi. Amavasya, the third day of Diwali, marks the worship of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. The fourth day of Diwali is known as Kartika Shudda Padyami. The fifth day is referred to as Yama Dvitiya (also called Bhai Dooj), and on this day sisters invite their brothers to their homes.

It is stated that the name Diwali or Divali is a contraction of Deepavali (in Sanskrit) which translates into “row of lamps”. The celebration involves the lighting of small clay lamps (dipa in Sanskrit) filled with oil to signify the triumph of good over evil. These lamps are kept on lighting during the night and one's house is cleaned, both done in order to make the goddess Lakshmi feel welcome. Firecrackers are burst because it is believed that it drives away evil spirits.

Other than Hindus, there are many people of different religions which observe Diwali, such as, Jains, Buddhists, Sikhs, Arya Samajists, etc.

Rangoli decorations are very much popular during Diwali, which is made using coloured powder. During the festival all the celebrants wear new clothes and share sweets and snacks with family members and friends.

It is to note that Diwali is an official holiday not only in Indian, but in several nations, such Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, Malaysia, Singapore and Fiji.

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