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Diwali

Have a happy Diwali!

Diwali is the Hindu "festival of lights." The literal translation of the word means "rows of lighted lamps." In the Western world, it is one of the best-known Eastern holidays, and it enjoys tremendous popularity, especially for kids. While its actual date varies, as the Hindu calendar differs from the Western calendar, it typically occurs in early November or late October.

While the folk tales and legends associated with the holiday vary in different regions of India and the Eastern world, the Diwali festival is universally regarded as a celebration of knowledge, hope and goodness. Diwali itself extends over a five-day period, and in most parts of India, it is associated with the Hindu goddess Lakshmi, the patron deity of wealth.

Have a Happy Diwali

During Diwali, people light up their homes with candles in order to invite the positive influence of Lakshmi to come into their houses. Specific practices differ regionally and may also include prayers to Lakshmi, which express Diwali wishes of good fortune in the coming year. In modern times, Diwali has evolved to include a thorough cleaning of the home, not unlike the common "spring cleaning" ritual common to many places in the Western world. People also decorate the exteriors of their homes as well as public buildings with elaborate light displays, set off fireworks and enjoy large banquets with friends and family. Special treats known as Diwali crackers are also offered.

Though the gift-giving tradition is not as strong as the one associated with Christmas, exchanges of small presents is also part of Diwali. Usually, these presents consist of candies, sweets and dried fruits; if you're sending Diwali greetings to friends who celebrate the holiday, these make excellent gift choices, especially for children.

Diwali greeting cards often contain a Diwali rangoli, which is an intricate design that adorns many of the textiles, clothes and Diwali cards that are sent during the festival. If you want to design your own Diwali greeting cards, you can choose a wide range of patterns from an online bank of Diwali rangoli clip art, then use Web-based software to create and finalize your card and print it using a color printer.

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