|Diwali - The Festival of lights|
|Observed by||Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs|
|Begins||27 or 28 Ashvin|
|2013 date||Sunday, 3 November|
|2014 date||Thursday, 23 October|
Diwali, which is also called Deepavali or Dipavali, is a Hindu festival. Diwali means rows of lighted lamps. It is a festival of lights.It is the greatest festival of Hindus. But all Indian celebrate it joyfully. In this festival, people light up their houses and shops. During this festival, people worship Ganesha, the elephant-headed representation of God, and Lakshmi, goddess of light, wisdom and fortune, but, the main God that is worshiped is Ganesha.
Sikhs celebrate this festival because of the returning of their sixth Guru, Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji, from the Gwalior Fort, where he had been imprisoned along with 53 other Kings by Emperor Jahangir (reason: being a non-Muslim), and all of those 53 Kings had been freed along with the Guru on the Guru's demand.
Deepavali is an official holiday in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, Malaysia, Singapore and Fiji.
This festival is celebrated by the Hindus in the Hindu month of Kartik which falls sometime during the October or November months. It is celebrated to mark the return of Lord Rama from 14 years of exile and his victory over the demon Ravana. In many parts of India Diwali is celebrated for five consecutive days and is one of the most popular festivals in India. Diwali comes exactly twenty days after Dussehra. Hindus, and Sikhs alike regard it as a celebration of life and use the occasion to strengthen family and relationships. For Hindus it is one of the most important festivals, and in some parts of India it marks the beginning of the new year. It is also a significant festival for the Sikh community. It is celebrated by letting off fireworks by children to really light up the whole of India. It is celebrated not only in India but also abroad. The Hindus worship the god Ganesh during the Diwali. Hindus celebrate the festival by lighting up candles and letting fire crackers off.
Firecrackers, which use sulphur and paper, put sulphur dioxide and charcoal into the air so crackers are now forbidden in silent zones i.e. near hospitals, schools and courts.
In Gujarat it is celebrated for 30 days.The festival starts with dhanteras on which most Indian business communities begin their financial year.
Diwali 2013 is on November 2nd.
Hindus light up their homes and shops, to welcome the goddess of wealth and fortune, Lakshmi to
welcome her in to give them good luck for the year ahead.