Diwali, or Deepavali, is the biggest and most important holiday of the year in India, but it is also enjoyed outside of India and by non-Hindu communities all over the world. This colorful festival celebrates the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance. It is connected to many different religious events and deities, but the most common story associated with it is the return of Lord Rama after he defeated the demon king Ravana. In some regions, it is also associated with the worship of Goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity.
Diwali is often called the “Festival of Lights” because of the common tradition of lighting oil lamps, candles and colorful lanterns to dispel darkness and invite positivity into people’s lives. Other traditions include thoroughly cleaning homes, buying colorful new clothes, creating colorful rangoli patterns (intricate designs made of powders, flower petals or rice grains) on the floor at entrances to houses, lighting fireworks and firecrackers, exchanging gifts, praying in beautifully decorated temples, and feasting on sweets and other traditional foods.
The multi-day festival of Diwali usually lasts for five days and falls between October and November. However, the exact dates change every year because it is based on the Hindu lunar calendar.