One of the most awaited of festivals Diwali, the literal meaning of which is “row of lighted lamps.” Traditionally lamps are lit outside homes to symbolise inner light that protects us from spiritual darkness. Diwali is celebrated in its own way in different regions of India. South India celebrates Diwali a day prior to the North Indians. More than 800 million people celebrate the festival of lights with every home honoring the return of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity. South India refers to this festive moment as “Deepavali” whereas, in North India it is referred as “Diwali.” A four-day celebration in South recalls the return of Lord Ram and Sita to Ayodhya after completing fourteen years in exile. In North India, the celebration begins two days before the actual Diwali.

The first day of Diwali celebration is the festival of Dhanteras which falls on the thirteenth day of the fortnight! “Dhan” which means wealth and “Tera” comes from the thirteen date. Rangoli and Goddess lakshmi’s footprints are drawn on the entrance of the homes to mark her arrival.Diwali Lamps
The second day of celebration is called Choti Diwali which is the actual Deepavali in South India. On the final day, Lakshmi puja is held in both the regions with diyas lit in every house.

Surprisingly, Sikhs celebrate Diwali, as it marks the release of their Guru Hargobind Sahibji who was taken captive by the Moghal emperor Shah Jahan. Jains also celebrate the festival of lights as Mahavira attained moksha on the same day.

One thing that remains true in all interpretations is, the festival marks the victory of good over evil!