Diwali also known as the festival or lights or Deepawali is one of the most famous festivals of India celebrated by the people of different religions for various reasons. Of all the festivals of India Diwali is by far the most glamorous and important family festival that is enthusiastically celebrated 20 days after Dussehra in the month of Ashwin in October/November. The festival is not only celebrated in India but in the Indian communities throughout the diaspora. The festival of Diwali commemorates the return of Lord Rama along with Sita and Lakshmana after 14 years of exile after the victory over the demon Ravana. The people of Ayodhya illuminate the earthen diyas and burn crackers. In Jainism on this Lord Mahavira attains the eternal bliss of Nirvana. Many Buddhists in India mark anniversary of the Emperor Ashoka's conversion to Buddhism around the time of Diwali. Sikh celebrates this day as the Bandi Chhorh Divas. On this day the Guru Hargobing sahib ji return from detention in the Gwalior fort.
The Diwali celebrations may lasts up to 4 to 5 days. The festival starts with Dhanteras on which most of the business communities begin their new financial year. The second day of the festival is celebrated as Naraka Chaturdashi. It was the day on which the demon Narakasura was killed by Krishna. It signifies the victory of good over the evil. The third day is celebrated as Lakshmi Puja. It marks the most important day of Deewali. People worship goddess Lakshmi the Goddess of wealth and prosperity along with Ganesh, the God of auspicious beginnings. People light lamps on the streets and homes to welcome the wealth and prosperity. The next day is celebrated as Govardhan Puja. It is celebrated as the day on which Lord Krishna defeated Indra and lifting the Govardhan hill to save the lives of kinsmen and cattle from the rain floods. In the states of Maharahtra, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka it is celebrated as Bali Pratipada or Bali Padyami. The day commemorates the victory of Lord Vishnu in His dwarf form Vamana over the demon king Bali. It is celebrated as the first day of the Vikram Samvat calendar in Gujarat. The last day of this festival is celebrated as Bhaiduj. On this day brothers and sisters meet to express their love for each other and exchange gifts.
Diwali is the festival of lights, the victory of good over the evil. People decorate their homes, wear new clothes, children burn crackers, exchange the gifts with near and dear ones, sweets are distributed and thousands of lamps illuminate to spread the light. It is the festival of fun and revelry. It is the time of celebration and joy with family and friends.