|Diwali - The Festival of lights|
|Observed by||Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs|
|Begins||27 or 28 Ashvin|
|2014 date||Wednesday/Thursday, 22/23 October|
Diwali (Deepawali or Dipawali) is a Hindu festival. Diwali means rows of lighted lamps. It is a festival of lights, and 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.
This festival is celebrated in the Hindu month of Kartik which falls sometime during the October or November months. It is celebrated to mark the return of Lord Ram from 14 years of exile and his victory over the demon Ravan. 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 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 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.
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.
Diwali 2014 was on 22nd of October on the subcontinent, but 23rd October elsewhere.