Dewali Hindu festival of lights, also called Dipavali, Dipanvita, Dipalika, Sukharatri, Sukhasuptika and Yaksaratri, celebrated on the day of the new moon immediately preceding autumn. Different explanations are given for this celebration. One explanation is that on this day, the souls of the dead are believed to return to earth. Lights are lit in order to show them their way back to earth. Some people illuminate the doors and windows of their houses with candles, while others light lamps inside small paper houses, which are then elevated on top of long bamboo poles.
Dewali is celebrated during the new moon of Kartikeya (seventh month of the Bangla year) and coincides with kali puja (worship of the goddess Kali). In some places, however, the goddess Laksmi is worshipped, and the goddess of misfortune is expelled by playing several musical instruments. Dewali is also believed to commemorate the festivities that took place in Ayodhya after the return of the victorious ramachandra. Buddhists also hold a festival at this time in commemoration of gautam buddha's adoption of asceticism. Jains light lamps on the fourth night before the full moon to celebrate the beatitude of Mahavira. [Suresh Chandra Banerjee]