Diwali, or Deepavali, 2012 is already underway, with the actual Diwali Day (when the lights are lit) being on Tuesday 13th November.
Diwali is a 5-day festival and is the most important Hindu festival. The date of Diwali is based upon the position of the moon in the Hindu month of Kartik and, because of this, the date of the Diwali festival moves from year to year.
The first festival day is when homes must be cleaned and a new utensil bought for the home. Idols of Lakshimi (the goddess of wealth) and Ganesha (the lord of knowledge, wisdom, prosperity and good fortune) are bought on the first festival day.
The second festival day celebrates when the gods Ram and Sita returned to their homes, having been away from home for 14 years.
The third day is Diwali. Families gather and exchange gifts on Diwali Day. The lamps are lit after dusk and the evening celebrations include feasting and setting off fireworks.
The fourth festival day is mainly taken up with preparing food and offering it up to the Hindu gods.
The fifth Diwali day celebrates the close bond between brothers and sisters where sisters thank their brothers for their protection and brothers show their appreciation to their sisters with gifts.
Diwali is a huge religious festival and gives families the opportunity to get together and enjoy each other’s company, as well as copious amounts of food.
The Diwali festival is celebrated all around the world and the festivals usually involve music, dancing, lights and food. If you are near a large town, or city, it is highly likely that there is a Diwali festival near to you. You can go along and join in with the fun.