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    Posted November 13, 2012 by
    Lucknow, India
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    CNN celebrates ... Diwali

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    Diwali - Festival of Lights


    The word Diwali means 'rows of lighted lamps'. Diwali is known as the 'festival of lights' because houses, shops and public places are decorated with small earthenware oil lamps called diyas
    Celebrating Diwali

    People start the new business year at Diwali, and some Hindus will say prayers to the goddess for a successful year.

    Lamps are lit to help Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, find her way into people's homes.

    They also celebrate one of the Diwali legends, which tells of the return of Rama and Sita to Rama's kingdom after fourteen years of exile.

    The festival is a time for:

    spring-cleaning the home,
    wearing new clothes
    exchanging gifts (often sweets and dried fruits) and preparing festive meals
    decorating buildings with fancy lights.
    huge firework displays often celebrate Divali.

    Rangoli are drawn on the floors - rangoli are patterns and the most popular subject is the lotus flower.
    The meaning of Diwali

    The festival celebrates the victory of good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance, although the actual legends that go with the festival are different in different parts of India:

    Diwali celebrates Rama's return from fourteen years of exile to Ayodhya after the defeat of Ravana and his subsequent coronation as king;
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