Deepavali or Diwali, popularly known as the “festival of lights,” is a five-day Hindu festival which starts on Dhanteras, celebrated on the thirteenth lunar day of Krishna paksha (dark fortnight) of the Hindu calendar month Ashwin and ends on Bhaubeej, celebrated on second lunar day of Shukla paksha (bright fortnight) of the Hindu calendar month Kartik.
- In the Gregorian calendar, Diwali falls between mid-October and mid-November.
- For Hindus, Diwali is one of the most important festivals of the year and is celebrated in families by performing traditional activities together in their homes.
- For Jains, Diwali marks the attainment of moksha or nirvana by Mahavira in 527 BC. Arya Samajists, celebrate this day as Death Anniversary of Swami Dayanand Saraswati.
- The name “Diwali” or “Divali” is a contraction of “Deepavali” (Sanskrit: दीपावली Dīpāvalī), which translates into “row of lamps”.
- The days in Ashvin are in the Krishna Paksha (“dark fortnight”) of that month, while the days in Kartik are in its Shukla Paksha (“bright fortnight”).
- The killing of Narakasura: Celebrated as Naraka Chaturdashi, one day before Diwali, it commemorates the killing of the evil demon Narakasura, who wreaked havoc.
- The days are: Diwali marks the end of the harvest season in most of India.
- According to tradition, the chief disciple of Mahavira, Ganadhara Gautam Swami also attained complete knowledge (Kevalgyana) on this day, thus making Diwali one of the most important Jain festivals.