Diwali, the festival of lights, is enthusiastically celebrated by people of all nationalities. It celebrates the triumph of good over evil, reflected in the victory of light over darkness, and the word Diwali (or Deepavali) means “a row of lamps”. The festival marks a new beginning and a renewal of commitment to family values and good virtues such as love, forgiveness and knowledge.
Hindus observe Diwali over a period of five days.
The first day of Diwali, called Dhanvantari Trayodasi, consists of Hindu families offering prayers to the Goddess of wealth as a reminder that wealth is considered a benediction from God.
The second day, Narak Chaturdashi, is a celebration of the defeat of the demon king and a reminder to not abuse power and to channel strength for the greater benefit of mankind.
The third day is actually Diwali, and according to the Ramayana, the Ayodhya people used earthen lamps (diyas) to light the kingdom in celebration of the return of their king.
The fourth day, the Govardhana Puja or Hindu New Year, is dedicated to reconciliation and forgiveness. On this day, Hindus offer thanksgiving to cows and worship the Lord Krishna.
The fifth day of Diwali is called Bhaiya Duj and is a celebration of the relationship between a brother and sister. Every brother takes time to visit the home of his sister and her family.