- Diwali means A row of lights
- Diwali is celebrated by three religions - Hinduism, Sikhism and Jainism
The name of the festival comes from the Sanskrit word dipavali, meaning row of lights.
Diwali is known as the 'festival of lights' because houses, shops and public places are decorated with small earthenware oil lamps called diyas. These lamps, which are traditionally fueled by mustard oil, are placed in rows in windows, doors and outside buildings to decorate them.
The lamps are lit to help the goddess Lakshmi find her way into people's homes. They also celebrate one of the Diwali legends, which tells of the return of Rama and Sita to Rama's kingdom after fourteen years of exile.
In India oil lamps are often floated across the river Ganges - it is regarded as a good omen if the lamp manages to get all the way across.