Kandy Perahara, SriLanka
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Silanka Deepawali festival of lights Deepavali which falls this year on November 14 is a spiritual festival celebrated by Hindus during the period October-November. In Sanskrit, Deepavali literally means rows of lamps. The festival is observed by displaying rows of lamps at the entrance of homes and places of worship to signify the emergence of the soul from darkness - (Avidya), to light - (Vidya) or awakening. Among Tamil speaking people rituals such as oil baths, worshipping of Goddess Lamb and lighting of fire crackers take a prominent place during Deepavali.

Deepavali is the celebration of Shri Krishna's victory over the demon Narahasuran, who by practicing austerities, had gained strength to drive the Gods out of the celestial kingdom. On this day people clean and decorate their homes, for un cleaned homes are believed to drive away good fortune. In the courtyards of Hindu homes, beautiful kolams (designs) are drawn using rice and turmeric powder.

There is also a legend that when the demon Asuran was to be eliminated, he was allowed to crave a boon at the moment of his death and he asked that the day of his death be celebrated as a day of festivity, feasting and rejoicing. This was granted and he was killed. Hence it is known as Narakachturdasi.

Deepavali rituals and celebrations differ from place to place but having a bath early morning, wearing clean new clothes, going to temples for religious rituals is common to all. Short eats, sweetmeats and other items of food are shared with relatives, friends, neighbors and visitors. The festival of light signifies the true awakening of wisdom in an ignorant mankind, among suffering people immersed in utter misery and gloom. Rows of light and beautiful lamps lit in Hindu homes symbolize the annihilation of ignorance and sorrow.