Deewali is the Festival of Lights, celebrated by Hindus. Sikhs and Jains around the world. The festival signifies the victory of light over darkness, and is held in autumn in the northern hemisphere and in spring in the southern hemisphere. The festival has spiritual overtones of the triumph of good over evil. The light of knowledge defeats the darkness of ignorance, hope triumphs over despair.
Deewali is also known as Diwali, Deepavali and in Nepal as Tihar. The festival is dedicated to Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity and fortune. The festival is vibrant with light and colour. Boats made of coconut leaves are released on rivers, carrying candles, a symbol of the soul’s journey into the eternal. As with many autumn festivals, it is a time for closing accounts, the business year ends, families buy new clothes and clean their houses. Harvest prayers are held; children run through the streets with lit torches; there is dancing, singing and celebration. Now also is the time of year for match-making, symbolised by the marriage of Lakshmi and Vishnu.