The name "Diwali" or "Divali" is a contraction of "Deepavali" which translates into "row of lamps". Diwali involves the lighting of small clay lamps filled with oil to signify the triumph of good over evil. These lamps are kept on during the night and one's house is cleaned, both done in order to make the goddess Lakshmi feel welcome.
The festival celebrated between mid-October and mid-November - just after the monsoon season in India. For Hindus, Diwali is one of the most important festivals of the year and is celebrated in families by performing traditional activities together in their homes. For Jains, Diwali marks the attainment of moksha or nirvana by Mahavira in 527 BCE.
Diwali is an official holiday in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, Malaysia, Singapore, and Fiji.
Diwali is usually known as the "festival of lights", for the common practice is to light small oil lamps (called Diyas) and place them around the home, in courtyards, gardens, verandahs, on the walls built around the home and also on the roof tops.