Diwali is one of the most important and brightest festivals of the Hindus. Diwali also known as Deepavali and the "festival of lights" and the word Diwali is an incorrect form of the word ‘Deepawali’, which means rows of light.
This festival takes place on the fifteenth day in the month of Kartik (new moon night of the Hindu Lunisolar) when winter season begins.
There are various opinions about it. The Jains believe that on this day Mahabir Swami went to Heaven and was received by the gods and thus he got Nirvana.
The Hindus celebrate it because on this day Sri Ram Chandra returned to Ayodhya after killing Ravan, the king of Lanka, and the people lighted their houses in his honour.
Diwali, for Sikhs, marks the Bandi Chhor Divas, when Guru Har Gobind Ji freed himself and Hindu Kings, from Fort Gwalior, from the prison of Islamic ruler Jahangir, and arrived at the Golden Temple in Amritsar. Ever since then, Sikhs celebrate Bandi Choorh Divas, with the annual lighting up of Golden Temple, fireworks and other festivities.
It is celebrated with great pomp and show. Houses, shops temples and other buildings are cleaned and white –washed and are decorated with pictures, toys and paper flowers. All wooden things are polished. At night all the buildings are lighted. Poor people light their houses with ‘chirags’, while the rich people light their houses with electric bulbs of different colours. In big cities much money is spent on fireworks. All people are happy and are seen in their best clothes.
At about ten in the night people close their shops and go to their houses. Then they worship Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. After this people enjoy the rich and nice food prepared for the day. People also send sweets and presents to their friends, relatives, officers and servants and give alms to the poor.
Merchants and shop-keepers close their old accounts and open new ones for the new year. The Hindus believe that goddess Lakshmi comes to their house at night so they keep awake for the whole night.
This festival is very useful to the people. It comes after the rainy season, so all dirty things and rubbish are removed from the houses and the air becomes pure by the good smell of Heavens.