Diwali is the most important of Hindu festivals. It is celebrated with great enthusiasm throughout the length and breadth of India. As per the Hindu calendar, it is celebrated in the month of Kartik.

The mythological story behind diwali is the victory of Shree Rama over the wicked Ravana. It symbolizes the victory of good over evil.

Diwali brings with it a message of new hope, new enthusiasm and new ideals. People begin to prepare themselves for the festival many days before the actual date. Houses and shops are thoroughly cleaned and whitewashed. In the evening, each house has its row of lamps decorating the balconies, window sills and any little space outside the house where lamps can be lighted. The markets are beautifully decorated with little multicoloured lights, and are a lovely sight. People crowd to the markets not only to buy gifts and sweets but also to especially see the decorations.

People call on their friends and relatives over and have sweets and make merry. There are happy reunions of families and friends.

New clothes are worn by the young and the old. The whole country wears a festive look. At night people worship Mata Lakshmi – the Goddess of wealth and prosperity – so that she may bless them and visit their house.

Fireworks and bursting crackers are a part of the celebrations. The night sky is lit up with millions of fireworks lighting up at the same time and the din from these almost makes the ear drums burst. The air is filled with the smell of smoke from these.

Diwali is also regarded as a festival of traders. They begin their new year from this day. The new account books are begun and the creditors are paid off, and all old accounts are settled.

However, there are some negative aspects to this festival too. People believe that gambling is a part and parcel of this festival and often people end up with heavy losses and the whole joy of the occasion is marred by a feeling of loss and depression.

Yet again, the careless handling of fireworks too leads to mishaps. This too spoils the festive mood with much unhappiness and depression.

Thus Diwali, the festival of lights is a festival which brings happiness and joy to all. People of different religions too join in and it has also become a festival to unite the different communities of the country. Let's celebrate the bright and fortunate day of Diwali with fun and frolic. May the festival of lights satiate your life with pleasure and felicity. May success arrive at your thresholds. With these benedictions, sending my warm compliments to you on Diwali and always. Happy Diwali 2009!

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