Diwali also spelled Dipawali, one of the major religious festivals in Hinduism, Jainism, and Sikhism, lasting for five days from the 13th day of the dark half of the lunar month Ashvina to the second day of the light half of the lunar month Karttika. (The corresponding dates in the Gregorian calendar usually fall in late October and November.) The name is derived from the Sanskrit term Dipawali, meaning “row of lights.” The festival generally symbolizes the victory of light over darkness. Observances of Diwali differ depending on region and tradition. Among Hindus the most widespread custom is the lighting of Diya (small earthenware lamps filled with oil) on the night of the new moon to invite the presence of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. In Bengal the goddess Kali is worshipped. In North India the festival also celebrates the royal homecoming of Rama (along with Sita, Lakshmana, and Hanuman) to the city of Ayodhya after defeating Ravana, the 10-headed king of the demons, thus connecting the festival with the holiday of Dussehra. In South India the festival marks Krishna’s defeat of the demon Narakasura. Some celebrate Diwali as a commemoration of the marriage of Lakshmi and Vishnu, while others observe it as the birthday of Lakshmi. During the festival, diya are lit and placed in rows along the parapets of temples and houses and set adrift on rivers and streams. Homes are decorated, and floors inside and out are covered with Rangoli, consisting of elaborate designs made of coloured rice, sand, or flower petals. The doors and windows of houses are kept open in the hope that Lakshmi will find her way inside and bless the residents with wealth and success.