Diwali: Indian city Ayodhya lights 300,000 lamps to celebrate
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The Hindu festival of Diwali, also known as Deepavali, takes place across five days in the seventh month of the Hindu lunisolar calendar, Ashwin. This year the festival falls two days before, after, and including the main day of Diwali, November 4. The religious festival is embraced by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains and Newar Buddhists around the globe.
Diwali, the festival of lights, is derived from the word Deepavali, meaning “rows of lighted lamps”.
The religious holiday is a symbolic celebration of good over evil and the lifting of spiritual darkness.
Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Newar Buddhists all observe the festival every autumn, with each religion offering different variations as to its origin.
Homes and public spaces are usually lit with small oil lamps called divas, and colourful rangoli decorations are also displayed on the floor.
So what is rangoli?
Rangoli, meaning colour, is a mandala-type pattern created for the floor from rice or powder.
Some displays are made entirely from flower petals or leaves, too.
The Indian folk art form is believed to bring good luck and is often passed down from one relative to another to keep the tradition going.
Girls and women usually make these beautiful designs for weddings, key milestones and festivals such as Diwali.
Designs alter depending on the practices used by different countries and cultures.
For Diwali, rangolis can be found near doorsteps and in the verandah.
Preparations for the Hindu festival start with people cleaning their homes and lining them with rangolis.
How else is Diwali celebrated?
Each of the five days of Diwali has a different meaning.
Day one – Dhanteras – marks the beginning of celebrations.
Next is Choti Diwali, Naraka Chaturdasi, when sweet treats and feasts are prepared and bought.
Diwali is on the third day and is when the temple is visited, and time is spent with loved ones.
On day four, Annakut, Padwa, Govardhan Puja, the bond between a husband and wife is celebrated
The final day is Bhai Duj, Bhaiya Dooj and is one to commemorate the brother-sister relationship.
Siblings get together and exchange presents, sweets and blessings and this marks the end of the five-day-long celebration of joy, lights and radiance.
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