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By Louise Tellamteacher and freelance writer

Find out all you need to know about Divali, one of the most important festivals for the Hindu and Sikh faiths

What is Divali?

Divali is an important time of year for Hindus and Sikhs. It is the Indian festival of Light which takes place on 1 November 2005. In India it is a national holiday which usually lasts for five days. The word Divali comes from the Sanskrit word, ‘Deepavali’, which means ‘clusters of lights’ – a characteristic of all the celebrations. The underlying theme of all the stories that form a basis to the festival of Divali is the battle between good and evil and the ultimate triumph of good.

Why it Divali celebrated?

The celebration falls on the last day of the last month of the year according to the Indian calendar and marks the beginning of the new year as reflected in some traditions.

For many Hindus, Divali lasts for three days and is preceded by the ten day festival of Dusshera. Throughout this time, the epic story of the Ramayana is retold. The story concludes with the triumphant return of Rama, an incarnation of the Hindu deity Vishnu, and his queen, Sita, to their kingdom, welcomed by many lights. Hindus illuminate their homes to invite Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity, to bless them throughout the coming year.

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