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Diwali is a Hindu festival, also known as Deepavali or more commonly called the 'festival of lights'.The word Diwali itself means 'rows of lighted lamps'; and during the festivities houses, shops and other public buildings are decorated with small oil lamps called diyas. The festival lasts for 5 days and is celebrated to honour Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, for whom the lamps are intended to guide the way. Often Hindus also leave windows and doors of their homes open so that Lakshmi can get in. Many Indians start the new business year on Diwali, and pray to Lakshmi for a prosperous year ahead.

Other than Lakshmi, Diwali also celebrates the legend of the return of Rama and Sita to Rama's kingdom after 14 years of exile.

As well as the ubiquitous firework displays and hanging of lanterns, popular customs at this time include the giving of gifts, wearing of new clothes, spring cleaning of the home and the drawing of rangoli on floors.

Although Diwali practices vary across India, a core unifying theme of the festival is the celebration of the victory of dark over light, and good over evil.

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  • Category: Hinduism
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