Happy Diwali to all!
Diwali is a festival celebrated by most Indians – predomintly celebrated in Hinduism, it is also a festival celebrated by many Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists across the world.
I love going home this time of year, being with my family, eating loads of home cooked food, eating mithai (Indian sweets), getting dressed up, going to the Gudwara and watching the fireworks…
Spiritually, the festival uses the power of light and dark to symbolise the triumph of good against evil. We light candles all around our house during this period (although I do so in my room every night too), as light it is the perfect depiction of good.
There are many reasons people celebrate Diwali – Sikhs often celebrate Bandi Chhor Divas to mark the release of Guru Hargobind Singh Dev Ji from a Mughal Empire prison. The government (or some kind of leader) held Guru Hargobind Singh Dev Ji and his people prisoners and said that he would set him free and all of those who held a piece of his clothing he wore at the time. So, they made a long cloak that all of the other prisoners could hold onto and all were set free. They lit candles to help guide them through the dark, back home.
Jains often celebrate Diwali to mark the attainment of Moksha by Mahavira, Buddhists often worship Lakshmi and when I was at school, we were taught the story of Rama and Sita.
For 14 years, Rama and Lakshmana were exiled from their father’s Kingdom, because their stepmother wanted her sons to be King instead. Obeying their father, they both moved into the forest with Rama’s wife, Sita. Whilst they were in the forest one day, Sita was kidnapped by demon Ravana – Rama, Lakshmana and Hanuman, the monkey King, were to face the demon and finally defeated Ravana and its army, returning Sita home with oil lamps to guide them home and celebrate their victory. This was the story we were told to explain how good conquers evil and light will shine brightly and strongly in the dark.
However you decide to celebrate Diwali, make sure to be with friends and family and show your appreciation towards them – whether that’s though mithai, gift giving or sheer love. Light candles and eat loads of food! Enjoy and Happy Diwali.