Diwali is a festival which brings with itself joy and excitement. Diwali is one of the most important festivals of Hindus. Not only the whole of India but the world celebrates it.
It is the festival of lights, symbolizing the triumph of good over evil. Lamps (divas) are lit and fireworks are also burst. In Diwali, light and lamps play an important role. People decorate their houses; worship the Gods and Goddesses and exchange sweets and gifts with relatives and friends. The business houses also distribute gifts among its employees and among themselves.
Diwali is celebrated to usher in the new year of the Hindus and the Jains. This festival has huge importance for the business community in religious and financial terms. This day Laxmi Puja is performed. Laxmi is the goddess of wealth and it is believed that she likes cleanliness and happy atmosphere. She stays only in households which have these virtues. Hence everyone cleans their houses thoroughly and decorate it with lamps. Lamps are supposed to light the path for the goddess so that she may find the house worthy of her visit. Even the poorest of all try to maintain cleanliness and happy atmosphere. The word Laxmi itself is considered synonym of wealth in Hindi language.
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It is an auspicious day, hence Lord Ram returned to Ayodhya from his exile on this day. The lamps are symbols of light, hope and celebration. The celebrations go on for five days and people from all religions participate in it. It is an occasion when family and friendly ties are strengthened.
On the day of Diwali, many wear new clothes, share sweets and light firecrackers. The North Indian business community usually starts its financial new year on Diwali and hence new account books are begun.
On Diwali day the Sikhs light up their homes and Gurudwaras. At dawn, they take a dip in the sacred tank while reciting Japji Sahib, and then pray at the Golden Temple. They also circumambulate the tank.
Fairs are held all over India. Everyone dresses up for the festival and decorate their hands with henna designs. In the fairs you can enjoy performances from jugglers, snake charmers and acrobats. Food stalls, selling sweet and spicy foods are set up and puppet shows and various animal rides are arranged. The general mood is of gaiety and joy, with a prosperous feeling in the air. People plan months in advance what they are going to buy this Diwali!
It is a showy festival and is celebrated with pomp and extravaganza. Indians have a custom of purchasing gold, gifts, new clothes, crackers and household appliances during this festival. There is a national holiday and through out India there is a festive mood. Try to be in India during this festival and you will witness unparallel joy and social nature of the Indians.