Diwali: the Festival of Lights

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By Prisha Goyal
     Diwali is the biggest festival in India. It’s a time for the whole community to cometogether to celebrate the triumph of good over evil.The story goes that Lord Rama, an incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu, was sent intoexile for 14 years with his wife Sita and brother Lakshman. One day, the brothers wereoff hunting, leaving Sita alone in the house with a magical boundary surrounding it sothat no one except Rama and Lakshman could enter. A beggar came towards the house,asking Sita for food and water. The beggar was actually the king of Lanka, Ravana, indisguise, planning to kidnap Sita and take her as his wife back to his kingdom. When
     Sita came back with the food, he threatened to place a curse on Rama if she didn’t stepover the line to give him his food in a proper fashion, so she obeyed and was promptlykidnapped. Fast forwarding a bit, Rama and Lakshman set off on a quest to bring Sitaback, and they defeated Ravana on a day we celebrate as another festival, Dussehra. 21days later, the three of them returned to their hometown Ayodhya, and in celebration,the people of the village put out diyas (clay lamps) to help them make their wayhome—and we still do that every year. At our homes, we put diyas—and now stringlights as well—to celebrate; people make rangolis, which are patterns of flowers andcolored powder, and traditional dishes like samosas and gulab jamuns; children andadults alike celebrate the night with fireworks; and lastly, no Diwali is complete without