Deepavali (or Diwali in north India ) is perhaps the most important Hindu festival of the year .
It is celebrated by all hindus , Jains , sikhs etc .
Deepavali ( which means row of lights )
marks the victory of good over evil ,
the victorius return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya , marked by lighting of thousands of lamps ,
of the victory of Lord Krishna over the demon king Narakasura .
is celebrated by lighting lots of oil lamps ,lighting fire crackers ,
wearing new clothes , eating sweets , celebrating with friends and family , and prayer .
Its a three day festival , starting with Narakachaturdasi and ending with Balipadyami .
In the north , the first day is called Dhanteras and ends with Diwali on the third day .
In many parts of south India , people wake at 4 am ( 4 am to 6 am is the auspicious Brahma Muhurta )
take an oil bath with a few drops of water added from the river Ganga
and celebrate with lights and fire crackers before dawn .
The hindus have several calendars ...
Perhaps the most important is the Vikram Samvat , which began in 57 BC
when the celebrated Emperor of India Vikramaditya defeated the Sakas .
Deepavali marks the beginning of the new year in the Vikram Samvat calendar ,
the first day of the first month of Karthika .
Businessmen open their new account books on this day with Lakshmi Puja , and pray for prosperity .
Deepavali is a day of joy , of forgiveness , of starting afresh , of hope in the future .
It is a day of gratitude to the Gods and life itself .