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Diwali or Deepawali

Diwali in 2010 is on Friday, the 5th of November.

Diwali, the festival of lights, is one of India's biggest festivals. In addition to Hindus, it is also the occasion for celebrations by Jains and Sikhs. The festival of Diwali extends over five days. Because of the lights, fireworks, and sweets involved, it's a great favorite with children. Symbolically, the festival of Diwali represents the victory of good over evil, light over darkness, and knowledge over ignorance. It is also considered as a very auspicious day to start a new business venture because of the festival's association with the goddess of wealth, Lakshmi.

Fireworks are a big part of the Diwali celebrations. However, in recent years there has been a move against them because of noise and atmospheric pollution. Nowadays it is more common to see homes being lit up with candles and earthen lamps. The loud bombs and rockets are now being replaced with simpler fireworks that do not create too much noise. Unfortunately, Diwali is also a time when people gamble a lot. It is believed that that goddess Parvati played dice with her husband on this day and she said that anyone who gambled on Diwali night would do well. So people gamble a lot on Diwali simply to try their luck.

On Diwali, people welcome the goddess Lakshmi to their homes by drawing colorful Rangolis at their entrance doors. These colorful patterns are beautiful to look at and and the most popular subject is the lotus flower. This is because images of Lakshmi traditionally show her either holding a lotus or sitting on one. Diwali is also an occasion to exchange gifts and invite guests over for celebration.

Amisha Patel
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