Diwali is a festival which is celebrated in India and Nepal. While it is particularly sacred to Hindus, practitioners of other Indian religions also celebrate Diwali, and Jainist, Hindu, and Sikh communities all over the world commemorate Diwali with smaller festivals of their own. The timing of this holiday varies, since it is based on the Hindu lunar calendar, but it is generally celebrated in the fall. Diwali festivities in India involve everyone, not just the religious faithful, and the holiday is a major event in the Indian year.
The festival celebrates the triumph of good over evil. In Hindi, Diwali means "festival of lights," and people light rows of lights to commemorate heroic figures in Indian mythology who triumphed over the forces of evil. Diwali is also a propitious time for new endeavors, and many people clean their homes and open all their windows and doors to welcome luck and good fortune during Diwali. The exchange of gifts is also traditional during this holiday, and many people host dinners and Diwali parties.
Regional traditions vary immensely when it comes to celebrating Diwali, because each community has developed its own unique way of celebrating this holiday. Technically, Diwali is five days long, with each day representing a different facet of the festival of lights. In many communities, people pick one day of Diwali in particular to celebrate, often with fireworks and other large public festivities.