Diwali, also known as the festival of lights, is a major holiday signifying the victory of light over dark, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance and hope over despair.
Hindus honour the story of Lord Rama and his wife Sita, who returned from exile after defeating the evil king Ravanna.
Sikhs celebrate the Bandi Chhor Divas which translates to imprisoned release day. For them, the festival marks the day when Guru Hard Gobind freed and 52 princes himself from imprisonment. Jains commemorate Lord Mahavira, who attainted Nirvana on October 15 527BC.
The festival coincides with Hindu New Year but is also celebrated by Sikhs and Jains.
Families mark Diwali with a five-day celebration, and share sweets and gifts with neighbours and friends.
Traditional earthen candles called diyas are lit, and homes are decorated with colourful lights and rangoli – patterns created on the floor with coloured rice or powder.
Families will share gifts with neighbours and friends and it is customary to give to those in need.
Hindus light lanterns in tribute to Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. In India, many will leave their doors open to welcome Lakshmi into their homes.
Huge firework displays are organised around the world, representing the celebrations that took place on Rama’s return.