THIS WEEKEND SEES THE RETURN OF THE ANNUAL FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS – DIWALI – ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT CELEBRATIONS IN INDIA.

What is Diwali?

Diwali is the “festival of lights” celebrated by millions of people worldwide. The festival, also known as Deepavali, meaning “rows of lamps” in Sanskrit, sees people decorating their homes with candles and colourful gifts for five days as they celebrate the triumph of light over dark and good over evil.  As well as the decorations, families recite prayers in the hope of a bright future. The festival principally honours Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, and coincides with the busiest shopping days of the year in India. For Hindus, the day itself is said to mark when the god Rama returned to the mythological island of Lanka to defeat the demon king Ravana, who had kidnapped his wife Sita.

When is Diwali?

The date of Diwali changes every year as is calculated according to the position of the moon and the Hindu lunar calendar. This year it will begin on 30 October and last for five days.

Who celebrates Diwali?

It is primarily known as a Hindu celebration but Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains also celebrate it for different reasons.  Instead of the Rama story, Sikhs use the festival to mark when one of the earlier leader, or gurus, Guru Har Gobind, broke out of prison and arrived at the Golden Temple in Amritsar – one of their most holy sites.

Above information provided by Independent (http://www.independent.co.uk)