Termed as the most important festival of the Hindus, it also marks the New Year of the Hindu lunar calendar. Deepavali is celebrated by Hindus to commemorate the return of Lord Rama to his home in Ayodhya after a fourteen year exile. It also celebrates the victory of good over evil. Homes and streets are lit up in celebration and devotees from all over the city visit the Sri Mariamman Temple. The act of walking across a pit of red hot embers takes place among cheers, garlands and lights. The Little India neighborhood is a frenzy of activity in the days leading up to the festival with people thronging shops to buy clothes, gold, household goods and decorations. Traditional oil lamps are lit in homes and sweets are offered on the altar and distributed among family and friends.