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Diwali is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains in October or November every year (the date varies as it is based on the Hindu lunisolar calendar). It is a public holiday in India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Nepal and some other countries.

In India, the whole festival lasts for 5 days, the third one being the main festive day.

What it means[edit | edit source]

The significance of Diwali varies depending on religion and region.

Jains celebrate the day when Mahavira attained moksha (liberation of the soul) in the 6th century BC.

Sikhs celebrate Diwali under the name Bandi Chhor Divas ("the day of prisoners' release") to remember when Guru Hargobind was released from Jahangir's prison at the beginning of the 17th century.

For Hindus, Diwail may commemorate

  • the return of Rama from exile,
  • the return of the Pandavas from exile,
  • the day when Lakshmi, goddess of wealth, married Vishnu...

Despite its diverse significances, the Diwali festival is everywhere about joy and light. It can be seen as a celebration of the victory of light over darkness, of good over evil.

How it is celebrated[edit | edit source]

People dress up with their best (or new) clothes and light up many oil lamps both inside and outside their houses, pray Lakshmi and exchange gifts with relatives and friends.

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