The word 'Diwali' is a derived from Sanskrit word 'Deepavali' which means 'a continuous line of lamps' (The word 'Deep' means 'light', and 'avali' means 'a continuous line'). Thus, Diwali is the time to celebrate with lights.
Diwali, or Deepavali, is one of the biggest festivals and occassion in India. The festival has great religious significance for Hindus, Sikhs and Jains. In India, Diwali is now considered to be more of a national festival, and is enjoyed by most Indians regardless of faith. It is commonly celebrated by decorating homes with lamps and candles, bursting of firecrackers and sparklers, eating sweets and other mouthwatering dishes, praying to Gods and Goddesses, observing religious rituals, wearing new dresses and sending wishes and gifts to one another.
One of the most important Hindu festivals, Diwali marks the beginning of a new year in some Hindu calendars. For Hindus, the festival is not only the time to make merry but also the time to worship divine beings considered sacred in Hinduism like Lord Ganesha, Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Mahabali. It is also a significant festival for the Sikh faith. For Jains, it is an occasion to remember Lord Mahavira. In Nepal, Diwali is celebrated by many Buddhists as Tihar or Swanti.
This year, Diwali will be celebrated in India on 13 November 2012