Diwali or 'Deepavali' is popularly known as the 'festival of lights' and is celebrated all around the world with great fanfare and gaiety. The four days of celebration that marks this auspicious occasion, is celebrated with great gusto and vigor in different parts of India and the world. One of the biggest Hindu festivals, Diwali, literally illuminates the entire country with an impressive display of dazzling fireworks and lighted lamps. Each of the five days of Diwali is celebrated differently and is separated by diverse customs in India. What remains true to the festival is the celebration of joy, prosperity and life.
Historically, the 'festival of lights' can be traced back to ancient India, when it was probably an important harvest festival. However, there are various legends that are associated with this festival and its origin. Some believe that the alliance between Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi sparked the origin of this festival. Other states in India believe that the return of Lord Rama along with his wife Sita and brother Lakshman, from the fourteen year exile, shaped the joyous occasion of the festival. The people of Ayodhya, in the jubilant return of their beloved king, lit the city with 'diyas' (oil lamps) and burst crackers, thus, starting the tradition of celebrating Diwali. Although the significance and the origins of this festival vary from state to state, the illumination of homes with lamps and lights is a universal expression of obeisance to the heavens for harmony, fortune and prosperity. During Diwali, families dress up, get together, indulge in merrymaking, burst crackers, exchange gifts and sweets and also gamble as a custom! Around the world, Diwali is a flamboyant affair, and is more than just a regular festival. From incense sticks to firecrackers and parties to delectable food, Diwali rings in the sounds of togetherness and prosperity, marking good times to come.
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