Diwali is certainly one of the biggest, brightest and most important festivals of India. While Diwali is popularly known as the "festival of lights". The celebration of Diwali as the "victory of good over evil" refers to the light of higher knowledge dispelling all ignorance. While the story behind Diwali and the manner of celebration of the festival differ greatly depending on the region, the essence of the festival remains the same - the celebration of life, its enjoyment and goodness.
The word Diwali is derived from the Sanskrit term "Deepavali", which translates to "Rows of lamps". Based on the Hindu lunar calendar, Diwali falls between October and November on an Amavasya or moonless night. Celebrated as the victory of good over evil, the festival is associated with the legend of the Hindu god, Lord Ram's return to his kingdom Ayodhya, after 14 years in exile. The Demon king Ravan of Lanka had abducted Lord Ram's consort Sita only to invite his own death as a result. Lord Ram, along with his brother Laxman and an army of monkeys defeated and killed Ravan and returned to his kingdom with Sita. According to mythology the people of Ayodhya lit up clay lamps known as diyas to welcome him on his return from exile.
Diwali is a five-day affair and kicks of with Dhanteras. 'Dhan' means wealth, hence this day is considered auspicious for buying items related to prosperity like utensils or gold.