Diwali or Deepavali, also known as the Festival of Lights, is celebrated today, October 19th. It is one of the largest and brightest festivals celebrated by Hindus across the globe. It is traditionally celebrated over five days. The main day of celebration is the third day which falls on the darkest moonless night of the month, Kartik (October/ November). “The date of Diwali changes each year as the day it is celebrated is calculated according to the position of the moon and the Hindu lunar calendar,” said Manoj Karsan, Chairman of the Uitenhage Hindu Mandal.“Light has always been a symbol of whatever is positive in the world. To Hindus, darkness represents ignorance, and light is a metaphor for knowledge. “The Festival of Diwali carries great and varying religious and cultural significance among the several sects of Hinduism, with the universal message being that of good triumphing over evil.”According to Karsan, Diwali honours Lord Ram. The fireworks signify Lord Ram’s return to his kingdom after being exiled for 14 years and defeating King Ravana, when the local people set off their own version of fireworks. Those celebrating Diwali also light traditional earthenware oil lamps called diyas which are said to help Goddess Lakshmi find her way into people’s homes. People also make preparations to welcome Goddess Lakshmi by drawing beautiful rangolis, created by using coloured rice or powder, on the entrance of their houses. The Festival is widely identified by new beginnings, lights, bursting of fireworks, sweetmeats, feasts as well as time with family and friends. During Diwali, many give food and goods to those who are less fortunate and in need.“We wish all the Hindus a peaceful and blessed Diwali. We trust that the divine light of Diwali spread into your lives joy, peace, prosperity, happiness and good health. May you all attain full inner illumination,” said Karsan.