For five days, people in India and across the world celebrate Diwali, an annual celebration of the triumph of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance and hope over dispair.
The word “Diwali” literally means rows of lighted diyas, or lamps, and millions of people decorate their homes, stores and neighborhoods with candles, colorful lights and sparklers to celebrate the Festival of Lights.
The holiday is celebrated to honor Lord Rama, his wife Sita and his brother Lakshmana returning from exile after more than a decade. Butwhile many gods are given offerings, the most common is Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. Indians clean their homes, purchase new clothing for themselves and gifts for friends, and say prayers for a prosperous year.