The biggest and brightest of celebrations will happen across the country this week as the Indian festival of Diwali gets underway.
The five-day festival, celebrated around the world by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains is an important date in the religious calendar, and one which is honoured with various traditions and events.
Unfamiliar with Diwali? We’ve gathered together everything that you need to know about it.
When is Diwali?
Diwali falls on a different date each year, depending on the position of the moon.
This year, Diwali will fall on Thursday, October 19.
What is Diwali?
Diwali is one of the most significant festivals in the Indian culture. Known as the ‘festival of lights’, the date is celebrated every year in the autumn in the northern hemisphere, and spring in the southern hemisphere.
One of the major festivals of Hinduism, it spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness and good over evil.
The word ‘Diwali’ means rows of lighted lamps and it is known as the ‘festival of lights’ because houses and shops are decorated with candles and colourful lights during the week.
For many people, Diwali honours Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and fertility. The new business year will start, for many, at Diwali, and some will say prayers to the goddess for a prosperous year ahead.
How is Diwali celebrated?
Lights, lamps, music, food, decorations will all be a major part of this week’s festivities, with thousands attending Diwali lights switch-on events around the country.
Large firework displays are held to honour the legend of Rama, who according to local lore, was greeted with lights and celebrations after returning from exile.
Those celebrating the festival also light traditional earthen candles called diyas and decorate their houses with colourful rangoli artworks – patterns created on the floor using coloured rice or powder.
Families will also share Indian sweets and gifts, as well as giving food, money and goods to those in need.
During Diwali, it is also traditional for families to clean their homes in honour of the new season, as well as wearing new clothes during the five-day celebration.