ARUNA Jhavrey is one of thousands of Asians in Gravesham and Dartford who celebrated Diwali last week.

Diwali is the Indian festival of light and is their equivalent of Christmas.

Asian families enjoy pastry sweets or gugara, say prayers and set off fireworks to celebrate.

Mrs Jhavrey, 50, of Campbell Road, Gravesend celebrated Diwali with her husband, Navin, 54, and her three children, 22-year-old Puja, 18-year-old Ravi and 14-year-old Amit.

She said: “Diwali is a very important time of year for Hindus, it is like Christmas for us and lasts five days. We eat curry, gugara and semolina sweets and then we light candles and say prayers. We also set off fireworks and it is a fun time for everyone.”

The background to Diwali is King Dashrath exiled two of his sons, Sri Lakashan Ji and Sri Ram Chander Ji, for 12 years on the recommendation of one of his wives who wanted the kingdom for her son.

Sita Ji, wife of Sri Ram Chandler Ji, chose to go into exile with her husband and brother-in-law.

After their 12-year exile, they returned to their kingdom and the people welcomed them with fireworks, candles, food and sweets.

Sikhs celebrate Diwali because the Sixth Guru, Ilarogobin, was released from Gowalier prison on the anniversary of Diwali.