From November 12 until November 16, 2020, thousands of people around the world will celebrate the biggest festival in the Hindu Calendar, Diwali, or Deepavali, which in Sanskrit means "rows of lights" (avali = row; deepa = light).
The dates for Diwali changes each year as it is based on the Hindu Lunar calendar, but normally takes place between mid-October and mid-November. For 2020, the actual day of Diwali is November 14th.
Each day is celebrated differently, including the first day where people clean their homes, offices, businesses and make new purchases, including gold ornaments, silver kitchen utensils, etc. Home floors are beautifully decorated with designed patterns, rangoli, using colored sand, powders, or rice. Diyas, or clay lamps, are lit in homes to signify the triumph of light over darkness.
The second day, or the day before Diwali, is celebrated by relaxing and staying at home. Fewer diyas are lit and many people will cleanse their body by taking a ritual bath before sunrise and massage the body with oil to relieve the body from tension and to prepare for the following day.
The actual day of Diwali is on the third day of the celebration. Clay lamps, or diyas, or beautifully lit throughout the homes, welcoming the Goddess Lakshmi, deity of wealth and prosperity, and Lord Ganesha. Family members gather as they feast and enjoy the firesworks.
The fourth day is the first day of the new year and many dishes are prepared to offer to the gods and later shared among family, relatives, friends, or neighbors. Another ritual performed on this day is to build a hill from mud or cow dung, which is decorated with flowers and adorned with food and offered to Krishna.
The fifth and final day is a day to celebrate the special bonding relationship between brothers and sisters. Brothers will visit their sisters and enjoy meals together, as well as exchange sweets and gifts.