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Most of us are accustom to spectacular fire works displays organised by Hindus within our communities, but do we really know what they are celebrating?

Take a few moments to delve into a brief history of Diwali the celebration of lights, we can not capture the true spirit and grandness of the celebration but lets try and have a glimpse.

Diwali, also known as the festival of lights is one of the major festivals celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and some Buddhists.

The festival usually lasts five days and is celebrated during the Hindu lunisolar month Kartika (between mid-October and mid-November).

One of the most popular festivals of Hinduism, Diwali symbolizes the spiritual “victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance”.

The festival is widely associated with Lakshmi, goddess of prosperity.

In the lead-up to Diwali, celebrants will prepare by cleaning, renovating, and decorating their homes and workplaces with diyas (oil lamps) and rangolis (colorful art circle patterns).

During Diwali, people wear their finest clothes, illuminate the interior and exterior of their homes with diyas and rangoli, perform worship ceremonies of Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity and wealth, light fireworks, and partake in family feasts, where mithai (sweets) and gifts are shared.

Diwali is usually celebrated twenty days after the Vijayadashami festival, with Dhanteras, or the regional equivalent, marking the first day of the festival.

According to Hindu mythology, the Prince of Ayodhya, Lord Rama, returned home with his wife Mata Sita and brother Lakshmana on the auspicious occasion of Diwali.

They came back to Ayodhya after spending 14 years in exile and defeating the King of Lanka, Ravana.

People of Ayodhya had celebrated their return with great enthusiasm by lighting rows of lamps and diyas.

The tradition has continued till date and is celebrated as the festival of Diwali.

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