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Today is Diwali. Diwali is perhaps the most well-known of the Hindu festivals and is called the 'festival of lights' because houses, shops and public places are decorated with small earthenware oil lamps called diyas. Lamps are lit to help Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, find her way into people's homes. Hindus also celebrate the story of Rama and Sita.
In Britain, as in India, the festival is a time for:
- spring-cleaning the home
- wearing new clothes
- exchanging gifts (often sweets and dried fruits) and preparing festive meals
- decorating buildings with fancy lights
- huge firework displays
The festival celebrates the victory of good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance.