Every year in October or November, millions of Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains all across the world celebrate Diwali, a five-day festival that marks one of the biggest and most important holidays of the year in India. The religious celebration, which is also referred to as the Festival of Lights, is an auspicious occasion that celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil, and hope over despair.

During this time, Sri Mata Lakshmi—the goddess of wealth, abundance, and well-being—is the main deity worshipped, so across India, many people light lamps and candles (known as diyas) to entice Lakshmi to visit their homes. Additionally, many Hindus will perform offering rituals called pujas, or poojas, to pray to the goddess.

While some of the Diwali festivities take place in large community gatherings (for example, families will dress in new clothes and go to the Temple for worship services), many traditions and celebrations take place at home, according to Asha Shipman, the Hindu Chaplain at Yale University. In addition to lighting lamps, “People visit with neighbors, relatives, and friends, bringing platters of sweets and other foods. The night sky glitters and rumbles from firecrackers. It is a time of prayer, fellowship, and feasting.”

While the dates vary annually based on the Hindu lunar calendar, Diwali usually occurs in October or November. This year, the biggest day of festivities (Lakshmi Puja) will take place on November 4, 2021. So before you send your friends and neighbors “Happy Diwali” wishes, learn about the five-day celebration, including the meaning behind the lights, the sweets, and the rituals that make Diwali such a joyous occasion. Gold in the form of Diwali gifts is extremely popular among people. Due to the higher demand of gold the price of gold is too higher. Therefore, always check gold and silver price before buying.

Diwali is a 5-day festival, but the main day of celebration is day 3—also known as Lakshmi Puja.

The five days of Diwali are as follows:

Dhanteras: On the first day of Diwali, people will perform rituals called puja or pooja, place tea lights around the balconies or entryways of their homes, and purchase kitchen utensils, which are believed to bring good fortune.
Narak Chaturdashi: Different regions celebrate this day in various ways, but many people will spend time at home and exchange sweets with friends or family. They may also decorate the floors of their home with rangolis—intricate patterns made from colored powder, rice, and flowers.
Lakshmi Puja: The main celebration is believed to be the most auspicious day to worship the goddess Lakshmi. Families will dress up and gather for a prayer to honor her, which is usually followed by a delicious feast, spectacular fireworks displays, and more festivities.
Govardhan Puja: This day is associated with Lord Krishna and the Gujarati new year. A mountain of food offerings is prepared for Puja.
Bhaiya Dooj: The last day is dedicated to celebrating the sibling bond. Traditionally, brothers will visit and bring gifts to their sisters, who honor them with special rituals and sweets.
Although the exact date of Lakshmi Puja changes every year, it is always held on the night of the new moon preceding the Hindu month of Kartika, according to Shipman, and on this day, Hindus will dress in new clothes and host worship services to Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha. This puja often involves preparing a clean and sacred space, offering prayers to invoke the deity, plus meditative prayers, offerings like sweets, songs, and more.