Diwali is the shorten version of Deepavali, a Sanskrit word meaning rows and rows of lights. Diwali is celebrated all over India. Diwali is celebrated for various gods' victory over evil: in northern India, by both Hindus and Sikhs for the god Rada over coming Ravine: in southern India for the god Krishna defeating Narakasura and in eastern India to honor the goddess Kali victory over Bakasura and it is the happiest of all Indian festivals.
Diwali is also known as the great Festival of Lights. It is celebrated on the last day of the last month of the lunar calendar, which occurs in late autumn and coincides with Halloween. Diwali is considered to be a festival for the renewal of life for it is on this day that old lamps are thrown out and new lamps are brought in. Hindus believe that the souls of the ancestors come to visit their homes on Diwali and the new lamps will help the souls find their way to heaven.
Days before the celebration, women decorate their living rooms floors and front entrances with good luck signs (Alpanas) which look like carpets and are made from rice powder. The women sift powder through their fingers to create designs of birds, insects, flowers and intricate patterns. Some of these designs are done in color (Rangoli). The houses are scrubbed clean and decorated with flowers and paper chains. The women make food and sweets to take to the temple. The streets are decorated with flower garlands and lights. The people wear their best clothes or they purchase new ones just for Diwali. It is also a time for ritual bathing, some bathe in perfumed oils; others in the flowing streams and rivers in the hope that the flowing water will wash away all evil. After the ritual bathing, the people will go to the temple to honor the gods associated with the holiday.
The day before Diwali is a school holiday, the children use this day to create the oil burning clay lamps (Dipa). The dipa is a little clay saucer, which holds mustard oil and a wick. The lamps are placed everywhere; ledges, balconies, rooftops and along garden paths, A house may contain as many as a thousand of these lamps. The children receive presents in celebration of Diwali. Not only do these lamps guide the souls of the dead they also guide Lakshimi to their houses so that she will come down on the wings of a heavenly swan to bring them prosperity for the coming year.