Indian communities all over the world celebrate Diwali, the Festival of Lights, every year between mid-October and mid-November. The 5-day festival that celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance and hope over despair. The origins of the word ‘Diwali’ can be found in the Sanskrit word ‘Deepavali’ where ‘deepa’ means ‘light’ and ‘vali’ means ‘row’, thus a row of lights – which is exactly what is seen in homes during this time: rows of light in celebration of the festival.
It is also a time when Indians buy new clothes, almost as if to welcome new beginnings and the year ahead. Whatever one’s belief, it is a celebration of good over evil and new - positive beginnings. During the 5-day period, people’s homes are lit up by ‘diyas’ & the windows are often decorated with electric lights. Outside the home one will find rangoli art, created by either rice or coloured powder. It is also customary in many parts of the world to light up shop fronts, and not only homes. In some parts of the world, especially in India, beautiful displays of fireworks draw people to the streets to honour the memory of Lord Rama and Sita, his wife. It is believed that upon their return from exile, the locals in their kingdom celebrated the happy event with their own version of a firecrackers. Neighbours exchange gifts, and the emphasis is often on sweets & dried fruits. It is also a time to share with those in need and give freely to members of the community who have little