Widows, who have been abandoned by their families, light sparklers after offering prayers on the banks of the river Yamuna as part of Diwali celebrations organised by non-governmental organisation Sulabh International in Vrindavan, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, Oct. 21, 2014. Reuters/Ahmad Masood

Millions of Hindus, Jains, Buddhists and Sikhs around the globe will celebrate the holiday of Diwali, also known as Deepavali, beginning Wednesday. The festival highlights the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness. Here’s a look at the holiday and where and how it is celebrated around the world.

What Is The Origin Of Diwali?

The five-day holiday is known as the festival of lights and aligns with the Hindu New Year, which falls between the middle of October and the middle November. Diwali means row of lanterns and the holiday also marks the start of the new financial year in India. The day of Diwali falls on the third day of the festival, which is Wednesday this year.

Individual faiths celebrate the holiday for different reasons. The history of the holiday dates to the 15th century and the legend of Lord Rama and his wife Sita who return home after defeating the demon king Ravanna. The days leading up to Diwali have different significance and vary across regions and beliefs with many Indians also honoring the goddess of wealth, Lakshmi, during the celebrations.

For Sikhs, Diwali marks the release of Guru Hargobind Ji from imprisonment, for Jains the holiday marks the liberation of the soul from death and rebirth and for Buddhists the day marks the decision of Emperor Ashoka to embark on a path to peace.

An Indian artist checks Kundan decorated earthenware oil pots or 'diyas' at her workshop on the outskirts of Hyderabad on Nov. 6, 2015, ahead of the Diwali festival of lights. Diyas, which are lit and placed around the home, are in heavy demand during the festival which marks the victory of good over evil and commemorates Hindu God Lord Rama's victory over Ravana and return to his Kingdom Ayodhya after 14 years of exile. NOAH SEELAM/AFP/Getty Images

Where Is Diwali Celebrated?

Diwali is a significant holiday in India, but it is also celebrated around the region in countries including Nepal, Bangladesh and Malaysia.

A large Indian community in the U.K. also celebrates Diwali with one of the largest celebrations outside of India taking place in Leicester with more than 35,000 people attending the city’s lighting ceremony.

An Indian shopkeeper arranges decorative lights for sale ahead of the Diwali festival in Allahabad on Nov. 6, 2015. Sanjay Kanojia/AFP/Getty Images

How Is Diwali Celebrated?

To celebrate the holiday, families clean and decorate their homes with lights, candles and colorful decorations. Fireworks displays are also common and date back to the welcome Lord Rama received when he arrived back home. Earthen lamps, or diyas, are also lit in celebration, and colorful rangoli artwork is made using powders and rice and created on floors. Traditional artisans have complained this year that cheaper imported goods are choking their livelihoods, Channel News Asia reported.

Food, especially sweets, and presents are part of the holiday. Prayers and greetings are exchanged between family and friends.