How much do you know about Diwali? You know the festival marks the return of King Ram to Ayodhya, after a weary battle with Raavan. You know that the festival is celebrated with lights to mark the victory of good over evil. You know that gift-giving and spending time with your loved ones is an essential part of this festival. What's more, it also marks the start of winter in a number of Indian states.
For those of you who haven't gotten into the spirit of the festivities yet, here are some interesting facts about the festival that may encourage you to join in on the fun.
Diwali marks a lot more than just Ram's epic battle
Most of North India celebrates Ram's victory over Raavan, who abducted Sita. However, this explanation is restricted only to parts of North India. Down south, Diwali is celebrated as the day when Lord Krishna defeated the demon Narakasura.
People in the west of the country mark Diwali as the day when Lord Vishnu sent the demon king Bali to rule the nether world or 'patal loka'.
What these celebrations have in common is the running theme of the victory of good over evil.
Diwali is not only a Hindu festival
The Jain community celebrates Diwali to commemorate the nirvana or spiritual awakening of Lord Mahavira - which took place in 527 BC.
Sikhs celebrate Diwali as the day when Guru Hargobind Ji, the sixth Guru of the Sikhs, was freed from imprisonment.