Diwali for Hindus
People celebrate Diwali every year in India and across the world in late October or early November. The festival lasts for up to five days and celebrates the return of Prince Rama and his beautiful wife Sita to their homeland and the victory of light over darkness and good over evil. To prepare for Diwali, people clean and decorate their homes and places of work and settle up bills. They dress up in new clothes or their best outfits. There are usually prayers, a family meal or party, cards and gifts are exchanged between friends and family and there are giant firework displays. Children enjoy eating
sweets and are sometimes given toys and presents. People decorate and light their homes and mandirs with special diva lamps to remember the lamps that welcomed home Rama and Sita.
Here are some videos to help you understand why Hindus across the world celebrate Diwali.
Diwali for Sikhs
For Sikhs, Diwali is particularly important because it celebrates the release from prison of the sixth guru, Guru Hargobind, and 52 other princes with him, in 1619.
The Sikh tradition holds that the Emperor Jahangir had imprisoned Guru Hargobind and 52 princes. The Emperor was asked to release Guru Hargobind which he agreed to do. However, Guru Hargobind asked that the princes be released also. The Emperor agreed, but said only those who could hold onto his cloak tail would be allowed to leave the prison. This was in order to limit the number of prisoners who could leave.
However, Guru Hargobind had a cloak made with 52 pieces of string and so each prince was able to hold onto one string and leave prison.
If you celebrate Diwali please share with us some photos of traditions that your family follows.
We look forward to hearing from you.