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Divya Tewari

A beautiful diya made of clay.

Divya Tewari, Staff Writer

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Today, thousands of people around the world are lighting their diyas (typically small lamps made out of clay) in celebration of the Hindu holiday Diwali, or the Festival of Lights. The name Diwali is contracted from the word Deepavali, literally meaning a row of lamps. The celebration takes place over five days (one day for each deity.) On one of the days, worshippers pray to two of the main deities in Hinduism, Laxmi (goddess of prosperity) and Ganesha (remover of obstacles.)

This colorful holiday is centered around a puja (an Indian religious ceremony), in which people perform various rituals and pray to the gods and goddesses, typically in temples or in their own houses. Hindus ask Laxmi to bless their homes. Before the puja can be performed, the house must be clean and Rangoli (colorful, painted Indian art) should be placed on the doorstep.  After the pujas are performed, people around the world light diyas to mark the path for the Goddess Laxmi, and celebrate with family, friends, and a lot of delicious sweets. So enjoy the beautiful, bright lights of Diwali and enjoy the rest of this holiday!

Be sure to check back regularly, as other holiday articles in this series are coming soon.

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