The Festival of Lights- Diwali
In 2011, Diwali will be celebrated on 26th October.
Diwali is celebrated by Hindus in India and all around the world in October or November. It is the Hindu New Year and is either a 3-day or 5-day depending on where you come from.
It is a very exciting and colourful holiday. Homes are cleaned to welcome the New Year and windows are opened so that the Hindu goddess of wealth, Lakshmi, can enter. It is believed that she cannot enter a house which is not lit up, so every household burns special Diwali clay lamps (diyas) to light the way for the goddess, which is why the holiday is also known as the Festival of Lights.Children have a holiday from school. Presents are given and delicious holiday food is prepared and exchanged.

New clothes and jewellery are worn. Parties are held, and dice and card games are played. Fireworks and firecrackers are set off to warn off evil spirits, so it diwali_chalk.gifis a noisy holiday too!
The last day of the holiday is a special day for brothers and sisters called Bhaiya-Dooj. Brothers give special presents to their sisters, who cook for them and look after them. You'll find more about Bhaiya-Dooj below.
At Diwali, Hindus draw bright Rangoli patterns to encourage the goddess Lakshmi to enter their homes. Rangoli are a beautiful designs drawn outside the entrance to a house by Hindus at Diwali.
diwali_food.gifRangoli are made using rice flour, pulses and leaves. All over India, rangoli paintings are mainly white in color. White is a symbol of peace. The material used is rice flour or rice paste, because rice to all Indians is a sign of wealth. Another symbol of wealth is the color yellow. Turmeric yellow is also often used to fill in the white outlines. More often however, vermilion is used. Vermilion, is considered auspicious. Also used are pea green and rust brown.

For Diwali menu ideas go to:
http://www.diwali.co.uk/recipes.htm