Little India has been beautifully decorated for Deepavali since a couple weeks. Come Saturday the celebrations will peak and all the roads and lanes will be even more packed than usual.
Diwali is celebrated on the first day of the lunar Kartika month, which comes in the month of October or November.
Diwali, or Deepavali, (also called Tihar and Swanti in Nepal) is a major Indian and Nepalese festival, and a significant festival in Hinduism, Sikhism and Jainism. Many legends are associated with Diwali. Today it is celebrated by Hindus, Jains and Sikhs across the globe as the “Festival of Light” or “Celebration of Light” where the lights or lamps signify victory of good over evil within every human being. The festival is also celebrated by Buddhists of Nepal, particularly the Newar Buddhists.
According to one theory Diwali may have originated as a harvest festival, marking the last harvest of the year before winter. In an agrarian society this results in businessmen closing accounts, and beginning a new accounting year. The Goddess Lakshmi (the Goddess of wealth in Hinduism) thanked and worshipped on this day and everyone prays for a good and prosperous year ahead. This is the common factor in Diwali celebrations all over the Indian subcontinent.
The festival marks the victory of good over evil, and uplifting of spiritual darkness. Symbolically it marks the homecoming of goodwill and faith after an absence, as suggested by the Ramayana.
On the day of Diwali, many wear new clothes and share sweets and snacks. Some North Indian business communities start their financial year on Diwali and new account books are opened on this day.