Happy Diwali! Diwali is the most auspicious Hindu Festival celebrated throughout India and around the world with historical and religious significance.  It is known as the Festival of Lights and usually falls in late October or November.

Once upon a time there was a great warrior, Prince Rama, who had a beautiful wife named Sita. There was also a terrible demon king, Ravana. He had twenty arms and ten heads, and was feared throughout the land. He wanted to make Sita his wife, and one day he kidnapped her and took her away in his chariot. Clever Sita left a trail of her jewelry for Rama to follow. Rama followed the trail of glittering jewelry until he met the monkey king, Hanuman, who became his friend and agreed to help find Sita. Messages were sent to all the monkeys in the world, and through them to all the bears, who set out to find Sita. After a very long search, Hanuman found Sita imprisoned on an island. Rama’s army of monkeys and bears couldn’t reach the island, so they began to build a bridge. Soon all the animals of the world, large and small, came to help. When the bridge was built, they rushed across it and fought a mighty battle. When Rama killed the evil Ravana with a magic arrow, the whole world rejoiced. Rama and Sita began their long journey back to their land, and everybody lit oil lamps to guide them on their way and welcome them back. Ever since, people light lamps at Diwali to remember that light triumphs over dark and good triumphs over evil.

The spiritual side of Diwali signifies good over evil, that no matter how difficult life may be, good will always win. This auspicious event is considered a start of a new year for every Hindu household and business.  Homes are decorated, lights and candles brighten up the atmosphere and sweets are distributed to family and friends. In offices and homes, prayers are offered to the Goddess Lakshmi who is the provider of wealth and prosperity. Many businesses consider this a start of their fiscal year and honor Lakshmi.  The most notable gesture is that families visit each other, bring sweets, make amends, and promise to improve their relationship and send good wishes! Diwali is a time of love, hope and joy for Hindus around the world!