What is Diwali?

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There are many religions practiced all over the world Christianity, Judaism, Islam. In India, the main religion is called Hinduism and Diwali, also called “The Festival of Lights,” is a major holiday for Hindus all around the world.

Diwali is a celebration that takes place in October or November (the exact date is determined by the Hindu calendar, which is based on the moon) and memorializes the return of Lord Ram, the main character from the classic story of the Ramayana. (Just like the main book in Christianity is the Bible, and the main literature in Judaism is the Torah, Hindus look to the Ramayana for many of their religious ideas.)

According to the story, Lord Ram was sent to live in the woods for fourteen years by his enemies. When he finally defeated them and was allowed to come home, his people greeted him by lighting rows of oil lamps in the streets. This was both to guide his way, and to serve as a symbol of good winning over evil.

The festival also marks the beginning of the Hindi new year and honors Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth. To celebrate, families light oil lamps in her name so that she may feel welcome in their home (and bring good luck and money in the coming year!), as well as by setting off fireworks and exchanging gifts and sweets with their loved ones.

In different religions, the New Year doesn't necessarily begin on January 1st. Can you think of some examples from different cultures where this might be the case?
 

by   (whyzz writer)
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