The exchange of sweets and the explosion of fireworks invariably accompany the celebration of the festival. As with other Indian festivals, Diwali signifies many different things to people across the country. In north India , Diwali celebrates Rama's homecoming that is his return to Ayodhya after the defeat of Ravana and his coronation as king; in Gujarat , the festival honors Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth; and in Bengal , it is associated with the goddess Kali. Everywhere, it signifies the renewal of life, and accordingly it is common to wear new clothes on the day of the festival; similarly, it heralds the approach of winter and the beginning of the sowing season.
Continuing the story of Rama, this festival commemorates Lord Rama's return to his kingdom Ayodhya after completing his 14-year exile. Twinkling oil lamps or diyas light up every home and firework displays are common all across the country. The goddess Lakshmi (consort of Vishnu), who is the symbol of wealth and prosperity, is also worshipped on this day.
This festive occasion also marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year and Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed god, the symbol of auspiciousness and wisdom, is also worshipped in most Hindu homes on this day.
Another view is that Deepawali is meant to celebrate the destruction of the arrogant tyrant Bali at the hands of Vishnu when the latter appeared in his Vamana (dwarf) avatar.
The occasion of Deepawali sees the spring-cleaning and whitewashing of houses; decorative designs or rangolis are painted on floors and walls. New clothes are bought and family members and relatives gather together to offer prayers, distribute sweets and to light up their homes.