The Hindu Diwali celebration marks the beginning of the Hindu new year. Known internationally as the Festival of Lights, people observe the celebration by adorning their homes and workplaces with candles, lamps and small electric lights.
Diwali is one of the most popular celebrations in India and is celebrated by Hindus, Jains and Sikhs. Due to the huge diversity of beliefs and religions in India, there are varying interpretations as far as the spiritual significance of Diwali is concerned among the people in India. However, the Diwali festival is generally a happy occasion marked by people buying new clothes and items for themselves and their family members, as well as gift giving. It is also the occasion where children are told tales of ancient legends and stories.
Even among people practicing Hinduism, the spiritual significance of Diwali differs. Many Hindus believe that the Diwali is a celebration of the return of the Lord Rama to his kingdom in Ayodha after a 14-year exile. Others believe the celebration is dedicated to the birth of the goddess Lakshmi, the wife of Vishnu.
Diwali is a word that actually refers to a row of clay lamps. The dates of the Diwali celebration change yearly in the Gregorian calendar. For example, Diwali is observed on October 23 in 2014, on November 11 in 2015 and on October 30 in 2016.