Diwali or Deepavali, the annual Festival of Lights in the Hindu calendar, is India's biggest and most important holiday of the year. The festival gets its name from the row (avali) of clay lamps (deepa) that Indians light outside their homes to symbolize the inner light that protects them from spiritual darkness. It signifies the triumph of light over darkness, truth over falsehood, and good over evil. During Diwali millions of lamps are lit at homes, temples, shops and public buildings across the world. This is a time for exchanging gifts, friendship, peace, and goodwill to all. Diwali is an official holiday in Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Malaysia, Singapore, Fiji, and Pakistan.
Each day leading up to Diwali has a different meaning and these also vary between regions or communities.
While Diwali is important to each faith for different reasons, a common factor in all of the understandings of the holiday is the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness which is why Diwali is the Festival of Lights.