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Happy Diwali 2017! Here's why Hindus celebrate

By FnF Desk | PUBLISHED: 19, Oct 2017, 12:18 pm IST | UPDATED: 19, Oct 2017, 12:18 pm IST

Happy Diwali 2017! Here's why Hindus celebrate

DIWALI is now underway, with the five-day celebration being enjoyed by millions around the world.

The festival of light sees Hindu homes decorated with candles and lights and people sharing gifts - but what is the celebration all about?

The date of the festival is calculated according to the position of the moon and the Hindu lunar calendar and is usually in October or November.

This means the date of Diwali changes each year and, in 2017, the main date is TODAY (October 19).

But Diwali itself began on October 17 - and celebrations continue for five days.

Diwali is observed by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains around the world and is often celebrated by street parties and fireworks

What do the different dates of Diwali mean?

  1. Dhanteras (October 17): 'Dhah' means wealth - and this day is dedicated to celebrating prosperity.
  2. Naraka Chaturdasi or Chhoti Diwali (October 18): Known as 'small Diwali', Goddess Kali and Lord Krishna are believed to have destroyed the demon Narakasura on this day. Kali is worshiped in West Bengal, while demon effigies are burned in Goa.
  3. Amavasya (October 19): The new moon day, and the darkest day of the month, which is the most significant day of Diwali.
  4. The fourth day (October 20): This day has various meanings in different parts of India. In the north, it's the day Lord Krishna defeated Indra. In Gujarat, it's the start of the new year.
  5. Bhai Dooj (October 21): A feast and celebration of brotherly-sisterly love. 

Why is Diwali celebrated by Hindus?

The five-day festival, which coincides with Hindu New Year, is seen to be one of the most significant in the Indian culture.

Many people celebrate the legend of Hindu God Rama and his wife Sita's returning to their kingdom in northern India after being exiled following the defeat of demon king Ravanna.

The word itself means "series of lights" and during the festival houses and shops are decorated with candles and lights.

This is meant to represent light over darkness and the Hindu belief that good will always triumph over evil.

For many Indians, Diwali honours Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and people will start the new business year at Diwali and some will say prayers to the goddess for a prosperous year ahead.