Diwali, the festival of lights, is one of the most important festivals in India. People perform traditional activities together in their homes. Diwali celebration involves the lighting of small clay lamps (filled with oil) and candles and signifies the triumph of good over evil.
According to legends, the festival of light is celebrated to commemorate the home-coming of Lord Rama, along with wife Sita and brother Lakshmana, from the 14-year-long exile after vanquishing the demon-king Ravana. The people of Ayodhya celebrated the return of their king, by illuminating their homes with earthen diyas.
While Diwali is most popularly known as the "festival of lights", the spiritual meaning underlying the festival is 'the awareness of the inner self'. Thus, the "victory of good over evil", refers to the light of knowledge dispelling all ignorance. With this awakening and removal of ignorance the individual attains compassion and becomes aware of the oneness of all things. This brings joy and peace to humanity. Diwali is certainly the celebration of the awakening of the inner self.
Due to great cultural diversities, the story and idea behind Diwali celebration may vary from one region to another but the underlying meaning remains the same.
The celebration of Diwali involves decorating homes with lights, fireworks, distribution of sweets and exchange of gifts. Exchange of gifts, especially dry fruits and sweets along with statue of Lakshmi Ganesh has long been part of the tradition. These days, people also send Diwali gifts online through shopping and gifting portals. It makes easier for them to send gifts from any part of the world as many of these sites also offer free shipping.