A clay lantern, or diya, is used to celebrate
the triumph of light over darkness.
Diwali or Deepavali is often called the Festival of Lights, because the name translates as row of lights celebrating the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness.
The holiday focuses on lights and lamps, particularly traditional diyas, but modern celebrations also feature the glow of fireworks as well. Especially in urban areas, entire neighborhoods are often ablaze in festive street decorations that light up the night.
When is Diwali this year? Diwali is celebrated 20 days after Dussera, on Amavasya, the 15th day of the dark fortnight of
the Hindu month of Ashwin (Aasho). On the Western calendar that is Thursday, October 19, 2017.
Since it is a multi-day feast, Diwali continues for 5 days until Sunday, October 22, 2017.
Diwali combines the festivities of the Western holidays of Thanksgiving, Independence Day, Christmas and New Year, so you can imagine the importance it holds throughout India and other countries with large Hindu populations.
This being the Festival of Lights, decorative candles and good luck charms are a popular Diwali gift. Statues of pendants of Goddess Laxmi and Lord Ganesh - who bestow prosperity and wealth, peace and prosperity - are also given as gifts during the 5-day celebration.
Lights, camera, action! Throughout the Hindu world there is music and dancing, neighborhood
decorations, sparklers and fireworks, and traditional family sweets for the annual Diwali festival.
Perhaps best of all, the bonds of love are sweetened during the Diwali festival with homemade trays of sweets, boxes of 'designer' chocolate, or special gift hampers of holiday goodies! Just like in Western culture, the larger stores also feature Diwali sales on decorative lights, gifts, and new clothes that are bought for the occasion.
And, once all of the shopping is done ... it's time to party!
More about Diwali around the Web:
Diwali Festival - Excellent presentation on the Festival of Lights in India and around the world, including the five days of Diwali and related history, customs and traditions, recipes for Gujia, Malpua and more, with related resources.
Diwalimela - Very nice sections cover the history of the Diwali feast, recipes, customs and traditions and worldwide celebrations. There are links to other India related sites, a Diwali screensaver and Diwali wallpaper. One section has five pages of Diwali e-cards for you to choose from. The store offers gift suggestions, candles, diyas, sarees and more...
Diwali Greeting Cards - The big collection of greetings to send online with galleries of sparkling fireworks, virtual
Aarti, religious blessings, and cards for friends, family or business associates, from 123Greetings.com.
Diwali - Great overview of the holiday as it is celebrated in the UK and throughout Asia, with photographs, history, legends and customs, from BBC Religion & Ethics.