The Hindu festival of Diwali: One festival, many customs

Published: Friday, Nov. 16 2012 12:00 a.m. MST

A boy buys lanterns in preparation for the Hindu festival of Diwali at a roadside stall in Mumbai, India, Friday, Oct. 20, 2006.

Associated Press

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Our take: Every fall, Hindus across the globe celebrate Diwali, also known as the Festival of Lights, with lit lanterns and brightly colored folk art. The festival celebrates the Hindu legend of Lord Rama returning to his kingdom after a 14 year exile. Traditionally occurring after the harvest and before the monsoon season, the Diwali festival is also a time of celebration for the past harvest and hope for luck in the next year's season. This article from CNN explains the meaning and traditions behind one of Hinduism most important holidays.

If you are interested in attending a Diwali Festival, local Krishna Temples are holding celebrations at 6 p.m. on Saturday in Spanish Fork and Sunday in Salt Lake City.

Diwali is one of the most important Hindu festivals in India but the colorful customs and meanings associated with it can vary dramatically depending on whether you reside in the countryside or the city.

On the streets of densely populated conurbations like Mumbai, Diwali popularly known as the Festival of Lights is often a raucous affair, marked by a cacophony of firecrackers on the streets and a flourish of ceremonial gambling in the home. The wealthier urban dwellers splurge on gold, jewelry, clothes and expensive gifts such as electronics, which they buy for themselves and their loved ones.

In the quiet tribal villages, such as those dotted around the vast state of Maharashtra in the west of India, the celebration is generally a more simple affair, defined by humble offerings and wholesome feasts. Few, if any, firecrackers are burst and many follow their own particular tribal traditions. Most villagers try and buy new clothes, but few can afford gold, jewelry or elaborate gifts.

Read more about the history of Diwali on CNN.com.

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