The Diwali festival, also known as the festival of lights, is arguably one of India’s largest celebrations. Signifying the start of the Hindu New Year, Diwali also marks the beginning of winter. The dates of the festival are based on the lunar calendar, with this year’s start date falling on October 21st. However, the main event takes place on the third day, October 23. On this day candles are lit and placed all throughout the various cities and towns of India, this is then followed by fireworks lighting up the night sky.
The significance of the celebration is different throughout India. For example, in Bengal, the festival honors the Goddess Kali, also known as the goddess of strength. In Gujarat, the lights signify a welcome to prosperity in the form of the goddess Lakshmi, and the fireworks are supposed to scare away evil spirits. Throughout India as a whole though, the festival signifies the renewal of life.
For more information on the Diwali Festival in India, you can visit: http://www.diwalifestival.org/
Diwali is also celebrated throughout the United States. For information on the specific cities and locations of Diwali festivals visit: http://www.deepavali.net/usa.php