Diwali is one of the most important holidays in India and always starts on the fifteenth day of the Hindu month Kartik (late October / early November), 20 days after Dasahra to new moon. The different regions tell different stories about the origin of the row of lights. But in all the stories the return of the Divine King Ram(the embodiment of goodness and light) is celebrated with the lights. This is the reason why people decorate their houses and land with diyas and colorful lights.
Depending on the region, the party takes one to five days wherein each holiday has its own symbolic meaning and focus.
• Dhanteras (Day 1): The first day of Diwali is known as Dhanteras (Dhan means ‘wealth’ and Teras means ‘13th day’). As the name implies, this day falls on the 13th day of the lunar month. During this day, people observe a fast which is broken after sunset when the women light lamps throughout the night in respectful adoration to Yam, God of Death.
• Naraka Chaturdashi (Day 2): The second day of Diwali is Naraka Chaturdashi when the demon Naraka was defeated by Lord Krishna. On this day, people bathe before sunrise. This day is known as ‘Chhoti Deepavali’ as, according to the ritual of the puja, five lamps are lit at strategic places in the house – the gateway, barn, well, peepul tree and kitchen.
• Diwali (Day 3): The third day is celebrated as the actual Diwali when the moon wanes entirely and there is complete darkness in the sky. Laxmi Puja is performed on this day using tiny diya lights to drive away the evil spirit.
• Padwa (Day 4): The fourth day of Diwali falls on the first month of Karthik Masa of the Indian calendar. Padwa is the beginning of the New Year. This day is considered as the most auspicious day to start any new venture.
• Bhaubeej (Day 5): The fifth day of Diwali has gained its importance as a celebration of the relationship between a brother and sister. On this day, brothers and sisters express their love and affection for one another.
Basically, the religious significance of Diwali is comparable to our Christmas party. The shopping streets of India are magnificently decorated with fairy lights and the desire to make gifts and the return to friends and family, are also part of the festivities.
More information about Diwali you can find here http://blog.kuka-systems.com/en/ontop/happy-diwali/
Happy Diwali to everybody!