Diwali, or Deepawali, is India's biggest and most important holiday of the year. The festival gets its name from the row (avali) of clay lamps (deepa) that Indians light outside their homes to symbolize the inner light that protects us from spiritual darkness.
Celebrated in October or November each year, it originated as a harvest festival before winter but there are also many legends associated with it. It is a worship the Goddess Lakshmi, of wealth and prosperity. Hindus in North India celebrate King Rama's return to Ayodhya after the defeat of Ravana. Southern India celebrate the occasion as Lord Krishna win over demon Narakasura. Sikhs, Jains and all other religions celebrates the festival with same fervour.
Indians celebrate the festival with cleaning their homes and workplaces, shop for gold or kitchen utensils and other auspicious things. People decorate their homes with clay lamps and create patterns called rangoli on the floor using coloured powders. During the festival, families perform Lakshmi puja, a prayer to Goddess of wealth and prosperity. Lamps are lit followed by mouth-watering feasts and fireworks. Friends and relatives exchange gifts and best wishes for the festival.