Diwali, or Dipawali (Sanskrit दीपवलि), known as the festival of light, is India’s biggest and most important festival of the year. It is an official holiday in India and other neighboring countries with large Hindu populations. 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 month Kartika in the Hindu Bikram Sambat calendar. In the Gregorian calendar, Diwali night falls between mid-October and mid-November.
The festival gets its name from the row (avali) of clay lamps (deepa) that Indians light all around their houses during the festival. The light celebrated in the darkest night of the year marks the beginning of a new era and the first day of the new year.
Different colorful varieties of fireworks are always associated with this festival. On this auspicious day, people worship Laxmi, the Goddess of Wealth, and Ganesha, the Lord of auspicious beginnings, by performing religious rituals (puja) in the evening and sending gifts to their near and dear ones.
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