Millions of Hindus around the world are readying to celebrate the festival of Diwali.
The festival of lights is a public holiday in many countries and a time for celebration and worship – mainly to the goddess of fertility and prosperity, Lakshmi.
For anyone unfamiliar with Diwali and the symbolism behind this special time, here is a quick guide.
Where is Diwali celebrated?
The festival of light is celebrated all around the world, wherever a Hindu community is present.
India is the spiritual home of Hindus, but millions of worshippers live in other countries, including Fiji, Guyana, Malaysia, Mauritius, Myanmar, Nepal, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago.
What happens in Diwali?
The celebration takes the form of sparkling displays of millions of lights on homes, temples and public buildings.
Diwali is a religious festival, so prayers and attending rituals at temples is important, as exchanging gifts and lighting fireworks.
When is Diwali?
Diwali stretches over five days, with a main festival night coinciding with the darkest night of the Hindu lunar month of Kartika. Due to the influence of the moon, this date varies between the middle of October and November on the Western Gregorian calendar.
When did Diwali start?
The festival is known to have been celebrated more than 1,000 years ago, but is believed to have originated much earlier.
What part does shopping play in the festival?
Shopping is an important part of Diwali. Hindus buy new clothes, gifts for friends and family and spend money on renovating their homes.
What’s the significance of the festival?
In the Hindu religion, the stories told at Diwali often reflect the belief that good will ultimately triumph over evil. The meaning may vary between different Hindu sects. Sikhs and Buddhists also celebrate their own interpretation of Diwali.
Where do I celebrate Diwali?
Each country will have a celebration. The best way to find out where to go to see the lights and fireworks is by speaking to your nearest Hindu temple. They are spread across the world in many cities and large towns.