Diwali or Deepavali is the most famous, popular and important festival to the people of Hindu faith. All of the people of Hindu faith, the rich and the poor, living in any part of the world celebrate this festival with joy and excitement.
This festival comes at the end of twelfth and the last month of Vikaram era, that had begun in 56 B.C. This month is called Ashwin.
This festival lasts for five days, last three days of the last month and the first two days of the first month of the New Year. The first month is called Kartik.
All the people are looking forward to the coming of Diwali with a great excitement. The shops and malls become crowded with shoppers. The temples, homes and business centers are decorated with lights and new paints. The sweets and dry fruits are sold on a large scale. The men and women, the youth and the old get ready their new clothes. Rangoli, a creative geometric pattern or images are made with powder colors. The homes, shops, malls and many other buildings are shown with clay lamps (earthen lamps) and electric bulbs.
The first day of this festival is called Dhantrayodashi or Dhanteras. The people worship Laxmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity.
The second day is called Kali Chaudas or Chhoti Diwali, the last day of the year. Few people, who keep faith in black magic or evil spirits, perform a special worship. Some people put Kajal, black eyeliner on their eyes.
The third day is Diwali or Deepvali, the last day of the year. The business people worship their account books of their business for the coming year. When it is midnight and New Year stars, the people welcome it with firing the firecrackers. The sound is heard and dazzling, lights are seen in the sky all around for the whole night.
The fourth day is a New Year day. The people get up in the morning and get ready in their new dresses. First they go to the temple for the prayer. The Gods are offered various types of sweets on the day and this is called Annkut (A big heap of sweets). The people greet one another. The young take blessings from their elders. The elder also give them money as a gift. This is the first day of the New Year, so the people call a Happy New Year or Nutan Varshabhinandan to one another when they meet.
The fifth and last day of this festival is called Bhaibig, the second day of the New Year. This symbolizes the true love of brothers and sisters. If the sister is married, her brother goes to her house. His sister greets him with love and joy. She feeds him sweets. Brother gives a precious gift to her. All the sisters get gifts from their brothers on this day.
Diwali symbolizes the victory of light over darkness and good over evil too. The meaning of deepavali means an array of lights.