Diwali (the festival of light) is a 5-day festival that is celebrated by Hindus and Sikhs to commemorate the homecoming of Sita and Ram.
The History of Diwali
Rama and Sita (his wife) were banished from their home, Ayodhya, by the king (their father). Being a loyal friend, Lakshmana accompanied Sita and Rama and together they lived in the forest for 14 years. However, one day Sita was kidnapped by the 10-headed demon, Ravana. Determined to get his wife back, Rama was aided by the monkey warrior, Hanuman, and together they rescued Sita. After their banishment had finished, the people of Ayodhya lit Divas (oil lamps) to guide Rama and Sita home. Once back in Ayodhya, Rama was crowned king.
Modern Day Customs
The use of Divas in this religious story sparked the modern day custom of lighting fireworks and lamps. Furthermore, by lighting an abundance of lamps Hindus believe that Lakshmi (the Goddess of wealth and prosperity) will be tempted to visit their house and will bring wealth and prosperity with her. The 4th day of Diwali is also the day that Hindus celebrate the New Year and by honouring Lakshmi they believe they will have a prosperous year ahead of them. In Diwali, most people exchange gifts such as candles and Indian sweets and people tend to decorate their homes with lights and they might draw colourful Rangoli patterns (which are made from rice flour and are usually in the shape of a lotus flower). Furthermore, Hindus also dress up in their best clothes and women may paint their hands with henna patterns (mehndi).
I hope you found this blog interesting and you realise that Diwali is a very fun and exciting celebration.