Diwali - The festival of lights
Ancient Hindu tradition commemorates Diwali as the return of Lord Rama, his wife Sita and brother Lakshman's to Ayodhya, ending a fourteen-year long exile. To celebrate the return of Lord Rama, the people of Ayodhya lit the entire kingdom with earthen diyas (oil lamps) to show them the way home.
The dates for Diwali differ each year as they are based on the Hindu calendar. Diwali Dates Detailed Information
The Diwali festival actually runs for five days, with the main celebrations happening on the third day in most places in India.
The first day (November 5, 2018) is known as Dhanteras. "Dhan" means wealth and "teras" refers to the 13th day of a lunar fortnight on the Hindu calendar. This day is dedicated to celebrating prosperity. Goddess Lakshmi is welcomed into the home and gold is purchased. People gather to play cards and gamble. Ayurvedic doctors also honor Dhanvantari, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu who brought Ayurveda to mankind, on this day. There are a number of temples in Kerala and Tamil Nadu dedicated to Dhanvantari and Ayurveda.
The second day (November 6, 2018) is known as Naraka Chaturdasi or Chhoti Diwali (small Diwali). Goddess Kali and Lord Krishna are believed to have destroyed the demon Narakasura on this day. Demon effigies are burned in Goa in celebration.
The third day (November 7, 2018) is the new moon day known as Amavasya. This darkest day of the month is the most significant day of the Diwali festival in north and west India. Lakshmi is worshiped on this day, with a special pujaperformed in the evening. Goddess Kali is also usually worshiped on this day in West Bengal, Odisha and Assam (although Kali Puja sometimes falls a day earlier depending on the cycle of the moon).
The fourth day (November 8, 2018) has various meanings across India. In north India, Govardhan Puja is celebrated as the day when Lord Krishna defeated Indra, the god of thunder and rain. In Gujarat, it's celebrated as the start of a new year. In Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, the victory of Lord Vishnu over demon king Bali is celebrated as Bali Pratipada or Bali Padyami.
Some of this article is sourced from the Trip Savy Website