Divali or Diwali, the Hindu New Year, starts on Oct. 28 this year. It's celebrated not only in India, but wherever Indians have settled: the U.S., the U.K., Africa and South America.
Learning about Divali online, though, can be a problem. Most Web sites for the holiday are either ingrown with Sanskrit terms, or mere online catalogs for holiday sweets, jewelry, artifacts, incense and the like.
But there are exceptions.
Start with this bare-bones site, from the University of Kansas Medical School. Part of a list of holidays, it has a nice, simple description -- no Flash, no pictures -- of each of the five days of the Divali observance. It also links to a Hindu site that explains why Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and fortune, is honored on Divali.
Now you may be ready for the holiday site by VGreets.com. As Divali Web sites go, this one is fairly restrained; it keeps the glitz and ads dialed back while delivering fairly well-written articles. It mentions the major season's legends, like Lord Rama's victory over the demonic evil King Ravana. It tells of the various songs, prayers and offerings on each of Divali's five days. And each article leads to the next, making it easy to build up an understanding of the festival.
Also check out the floor art known as Rangoli. VGreets has a concise explanaton of these seasonal designs that are sometimes called visual prayers. You can also find Rangoli galleries here, here and here.
Want more depth? India Travelogue provides a lengthy, 1,900-word essay on the festival, how it varies around India, and the three stories associated with it.