Oil lamps arranged on a rangoli to celebrate Diwali in Guwahati, India
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Lighting the world. Diwali lights in Guwahati, India
The oil lamps called 'diyas' have been lit for Diwali, the Festival of Lights, in Guwahati, India. Diwali is a five-day celebration of the symbolic victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance. Diyas are a traditional symbol of the festival, and they are arranged on a rangoli, a colorful pattern made on the floor using dried rice flour, colored powdered stone, flower petals, or other colorings. Rangoli designs are more than just attractive—they're believed to attract Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity. Each day of the festival has its own significance, but day three—called Lakshmi Puja—is considered the main event. To prepare for Lakshmi Puja, people clean their homes to welcome Lakshmi's blessings of prosperity and happiness. A rangoli design is created near the entrance to a home or building, and families pass down traditional designs from generation to generation.
Diwali is one of the most important festivals of the Hindu faith, though it is also embraced by Sikhs, Jains, and even some Buddhists. Lamps are lit in homes, temples, and markets, and you'll spot hanging lanterns illuminating just about any public space.