Deepavali (also spelled Divali in few countries) or Diwali, popularly known as the festival of lights, is an important festival in Hinduism, Sikhism, and Jainism, occurring between mid-October and mid-November.
For Hindus, Diwali is the most important festival of the year and is celebrated in families by performing traditional activities together in their homes. Deepavali is an official holiday in India, Nepal, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Mauritius, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Fiji, and Suriname.
Some believe it to be the celebration of the marriage of Lakshmi with Lord Vishnu. Whereas in Bengal the festival is dedicated to the worship of Mother Kali, the goddess of strength. Lord Ganesha, the symbol of auspiciousness and wisdom, is also worshiped in most Hindu homes on this day. In Jainism, Deepawali has an added significance to the great event of Lord Mahavira attaining the eternal bliss of nirvana. Diwali also commemorates the return of Lord Rama along with Sita and Lakshman from his fourteen year long exile and vanquishing the demon-king Ravana. In joyous celebration of the return of their king, the people of Ayodhya, the Capital of Rama, illuminated the kingdom with earthen diyas (oil lamps) and burst crackers. In Jainism, Diwali marks the attainment of moksha by Mahavira in 527 BC. In Sikhism, Deepavali also commemorates the return of Guru Har Gobind Ji to Amritsar after freeing 52 Hindu kings imprisoned in Fort Gwalior by defeating Emperor Jahangir; the people lit candles and diyas to celebrate his return. This is the reason Sikhs also refer to Deepavali as Bandi Chhorh Diyas, “the day of release of detainees”. Deepavali is widely celebrated in both India and Nepal.