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Diwali (Festival of Lights)

India's most popular traditional festival, with its origins deeply rooted in Hindu mythology, turns the streets of Delhi (and all major cities in India) into a carnival each year. And while Diwali (the 'Festival of Lights') is extremely important for Hindus, it is also celebrated by Jains and Sikhs, meaning that the general air of festivity is enjoyed by everyone. Traditionally, all houses are decorated with earthenware lamps and candles for the occasion, and the sound of firecrackers can reach deafening proportions - in fact, so many fireworks are usually set off during Diwali that they have been blamed for causing a spike in air pollution levels! Neighbourhoods generally bristle with fun rides, food stalls and curio-sellers during the festival and there is plenty to see and do. Keen shoppers should note that it is customary for people to buy new clothes and household utensils, and to exchange gifts (usually sweets or perfume) during Diwali. Diwali is traditionally celebrated over five days, but festivities always reach fever-pitch on a single day and usually only one day is marked for Diwali on a calendar. Rituals and celebrations do vary slightly from region to region in India but the festival is celebrated all over the country.

Venue: Throughout India

Date: 23 October 2014