Yesterday, Hindus celebrated the first day of Diwali: “Dhanteras” (Day of fortune). Observed over five days, Diwali, the Festival Of Lights, is one of the biggest festivals in the Hindu calendar, celebrated by over 1 billion Hindus in and outside of India. The festival, meaning 'row of lights' in Sanskrit, brings together friends and families as Hindus celebrate the removal of negative forces from their homes and lives. Throughout Diwali, houses, shops and public places are decorated with lights, symbolising the triumph of good over evil. The small lamps, called diyas, are used to expel darkness and welcome prosperity, health and happiness.
The high point of the festival is the third day, Diwali (Day of Light). The day of Diwali varies as it is calculated primarily based on the moon, and falls between the 17th October and 15th November. This year, Diwali is celebrated on Thursday, 19th October. It is marked by fireworks and is also the last day of the Hindu year in many regions. It is said that on this day, Lord Rama vanquished the demon Ravana in an epic battle. Upon his return, his people lit lamps throughout the country to guide him home in the dark and mark a new era of peace.