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  • Diwali or Deepawali

    

    
    Diwali (also spelled Divali in other countries) or Deepavali is popularly known as the festival of lights. It is an important five-day festival in Hinduism, Sikhism and Jainism, occurring between mid-October and mid-November. For most Hindus and Indians, Diwali is the most important festival of the year and is celebrated with families performing traditional activities together in their homes. Deepavali is an official holiday in India, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Mauritius, Malaysia, Nepal, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Myanmar , Fiji , and Suriname. The name Diwali is itself a contraction of the word Deepavali (Sanskrit: दीपावली Dīpāvali), which translates into row of lamps. Diwali involves the lighting of small clay lamps (diyas) (or Deep in Sanskrit: दीप) filled with oil to signify the triumph of good over evil. During Diwali celebrants wear new clothes and share sweets and snacks with family members and friends. Some Indian business communities begin the financial year on the first day of Diwali, hoping for prosperity the following year. In Jainism, Diwali marks the attainment of moksha by Mahavira in 527 BC. In Sikhism, Deepavali commemorates the return of Guru Har Gobind Ji to Amritsar after freeing 52 Hindu kings imprisoned in Fort Gwalior by Emperor Jahangir; the people lit candles and diyas to celebrate his return. This is the reason Sikhs also refer to Deepavali as Bandi Chhorh Divas, "the day of release of detainees". Deepavali is considered a national festival in India and Nepal.

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