Diwali is the most joyous time of year for Hindus. It is celebrated universally, by Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains, throughout the Indian subcontinent and the world. It is a 5-day event that is celebrated to commemorate the victory of the forces of Good over the forces of Evil.
Day 1: Dhanteras
This day is dedicated to the Goddess of Wealth. On this day, Hindus buy utensils or other objects made of precious metals, for good luck. Businesses owned or operated by Hindus close out their financial records for the year and start anew.
Day 2: Chhoti Diwali
This day is dedicated to the Goddess of Time, Change, and Death. On this day, Hindus indulge in fragrant baths and then dawn new clothes. They share special Diwali foods with family and friends.
Day 3: Diwali
This day is dedicated to the Goddess of Wealth, Properity, and Beauty. On this day, Hindus perform elaborate ceremonies, worshipping the Goddess. Before any such ceremonies, Lord Ganesh is worshipped. Hindus clean their homes thoroughly and decorate them by placing rows of earthen oil lamps everywhere.
Day 4: Padwa/ Govardan Puja
This day is dedicated to Lord Krishna, who saved the world from floods by lifting Mount Govardhana and allowing all the people to take shelter under it. On this day, Hindus cook mountains of food, to represent Mount Govardhana, which are later distributed to devotees and other townspeople.
Day 5: Bhai Duj
This day is dedicated to the relationship in ancient India between brothers and sisters. On this day, sisters pray for the longevity and prosperity of their brothers, and brothers bestow their sisters with gifts and eat a meal together. It is meant to strengthen the ties between brothers and sisters.