My elementary school friend, Ridhi, is Hindu. Her parents were born and raised in India. Despite that Ridhi, was born in America she still is very involved in the Hindu culture, participating in all the festivals and traditions. One of these festivals is Diwali. It is the festival of lights in the Indian-Hindu culture. This festival takes place to bring forth the New Year.
Many ceremonies and traditions are involved in this festival. The first is the prayer, or puja, to the goddess of prosperity, Lakshmi. The purpose of praying to this specific goddess is to invite her into the house. Supposedly she will cleanse the house of all of the previous years dirt. After cleansing the house she will leave it open to the bringing of prosperity.
During this festival, Ridhis family makes traditional Indian foods such as roti, chola and dal. They also dance traditional Indian dances with their family and friends.
Another tradition in this Hindu festival is to put many lights outside the house. Essentially these lights, light up the house, therefore making it easy for the goddess, Lakshmi to find and then cleanse. Another light tradition is the setting off of fireworks. This tradition is obviously more modern, as fireworks are a need invention. However, I believe that the fireworks are another form of lighting up the house so that goddess Lakshmi can find it.