Today is Diwali, perhaps the largest of all Hindu holidays. Also known as the Festival of Lights, ceremonial oil lamps, known as diya, are lit to celebrate the triumph of light over darkness.
Homes and offices are cleaned, renovated, and strung with lights. Of course, temples and public buildings get the same treatment, leading to spectacular views at night of cityscapes ablaze with light.
People also buy new clothes or special costumes to wear to prayers celebrating Diwali, much like Christians buy new suits and dresses for Easter services.
Many of these prayers are directed to Lakshmi, the goddess of material and spiritual wealth.
(By Ravi Varna Studio [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)
Because of this, the five-day Diwali festival is considered the most auspicious time in India to buy gold. Jewellry stores (which also sell gold coins and bars) are swamped with holiday shoppers.
Another big Diwali tradition is fireworks. From giant displays put on by cities and wealthy Hindus, to kids playing with sparklers and firecrackers in the tenements, fireworks are everywhere. Fireworks stands are just as busy as jewellry stores for Diwali.
Diwali isn't celebrated just in India. Hindu communities across the world celebrate the Festival of Lights with the same enthusiasm. For instance, San Antonio, TX,
or the United Kingdom,
or even Singapore.
Diwali is the biggest gold-buying day in the world's biggest gold consuming nation, so it plays a large part in physical gold demand in Asia.