Divali, Festival of Lights

Surely one of the most beautiful festivals in the world is the Hindu festival of Divali. Celebrated in the beginning of November, this festival of lights honors Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity. On this evening, Lakhsmi is thought to come to every home. Families clean their homes and make colored clay paintings of the floor, and set up rows and rows of lights, traditionally little clay lamps, in the courtyard, windows and roofs.

Mahalakshmi resin statue

The lights invite Lakhsmi in to bless the home, and it is believed Lakhsmi won't bless any home which is not lit up to greet her. Shop owners and vendors also light up their stalls and stores. Divali (which literally translates "a row of lights") is considered to be the beginning of a new year.