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Diwali is the most important day in the Hindu calender, celebrated annually between October and November in the Gregorian Calendar and is the New Year festival in the Vikrama calender, falling on the eve of the new moon in the month of Kartika. It is also a day of great significance to the adherents of Jainism and Sikhism.
The name of the festival originates from the Sanskrit word, Dipavali, meaning row of lights. Houses, shops and public places are decorated with small lamps called Diyas. The festival honours the Hindu goddess of wealth, Lakshmi and the lamps are lit to help her navigate her way into people's homes. Business people consider it a favourable day to start a new accounting year for its association with the goddess of wealth.
Although the legends of Diwali vary depending on the part of India in which the occasion is being commemorated, the festival celebrates the victory of good over evil, light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance and represents a commitment to goodwill and friendship. The day is celebrated with fireworks, lights, feasting, gifts and new clothes.