Happy Diwali bachai lok! Your Auntyji wishes you prosperity and good fortune through the year.
Today is day of celebration for all Indians. Diwali is the largest festival in India. It is celebrated over five days. The pinnacle of the celebration occurs on the night of the new moon which falls anywhere between mid-October to mid-November. This year, of course, it is today – November 13.
Diwali festivities can include fireworks, prayer ceremonies, festive light displays, diyas (earthen lamps or candles), and an exchange of sweets and gifts between family and friends. Diwali or Deepavali (Sanskrit meaning ‘row of lamps’) is known as “the festival of lights”. Lit diyas are displayed to represent good over evil, while fireworks are lit to ward off evil spirits. With these traditions in place, Lakshmi, the Hindu Goddess of wealth, is welcomed. To welcome her properly, entrance ways are decorated by colourful rangoli designs, homes are cleaned, new items are bought, prayer ceremonies are performed, sweets and gifts are exchanged, diyas are lit, and beautiful lights are hung to decorate both homes and businesses.
Diwali is also a special celebration for Sikhs as it commemorates the release of the sixth Guru, Guru Hargobind Singh in October of 1619. Guru Hargobing Singh, now known as Bandi Chhorh Divas (deliverer from prison), was sent to prison along with 52 rajas (kings) who were held as political prisoners. Upon his release Guru Hargobind Singh, he negotiated that anyone who could hold onto his coat should be allowed to go free as well. His captures agreed. Guru Hargobing Singh managed to free all 52 raja’s by cutting the back of his coat into segments or coat tails. Each prisoner was then able to hold on to his coat and walk with him to freedom. The Guru returned to Harmander Sahib (The Golden Temple) to find hundreds of diyas lit to celebrate his homecoming. Since then, Diwali is celebrated in Gurdwaras around the world with Akhand Paaths and lighting numerous diyas on the Gurdwara grounds.
It is said that diyas are Gods way of telling us there will always be light to drive away darkness. May the light of the diyas spread joy to your life.