Diwali is the five-day festival of lights, celebrated by millions of Hindus, Sikhs and Jains around the world. This year it will begin on Saturday 14th November.
This is an event that is widely celebrated by a variety of cultures and countries, but it’s unfortunate that many of us are still unaware of this interesting festival. That’s why we thought we’d share a little history to shine some light on Diwali to celebrate this special time.
WHAT IS DIWALI?
Diwali is a festival of new beginnings and the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness, positivity over negativity. Every year, it is celebrated across India with great enthusiasm as it symbolises the victory of good over evil. Obtained from the Sanskrit word ‘Deepavali’, meaning a row of lights, Diwali is an event that has been celebrated since immemorial times.
WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF DIWALI?
The Hindus, Sikhs and Jains all celebrate Diwali slightly differently, as each religion marks different historical events and stories: Hindus celebrate Diwali 20 days after Lord Ram killed Ravana and rescued Sita from captivity in Lanka. The celebrations represent the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile. To welcome their king, houses, shops and public places are decorated with small oil lamps called diyas. Sikhs celebrate the sixth guru Hargobind Singh’s release from prison in 1619. But the religious community celebrated this festival long before this date.
Finally, Jains celebrate the moment Lord Mahavira (the founder of Jainism) reached a state called Moksha (nirvana, or eternal bliss). It’s an incredibly interesting festival, especially as it brings together different cultures and overall has a positive morality to it.