Friday, November 5, 2010

Today is Diwali

Happy Diwali to all that celebrate it! Diwali is known as the festival of lights and is an official Holiday in India as well as celebrated by many South Asian religions all over the world. Diwali celebrations are chock full of family traditions, lighting candles and fireworks, getting together with loved ones and sharing snacks and sweets. 

In Hindu Mythology - the story of Diwali signifies the victory of good over evil. I am not so versed in the Hindu stories of Diwali but there are beautifully written accounts of them here

Those who celebrate Diwali light candles outside their home or put up christmas lights around the home. The significance is that this light should illuminate ur home and heart and empower us to commit ourselves to good deeds which will bring us closer to God. In India, during Diwali, lights are everywhere inside and outside as people light firecrackers and incense and celebrate this holiday. (Source)

It has become more than a Hindu - festival - it has become a cultural holiday much like Christmas for those who choose to celebrate it living in the United States.

In my religion, SIKHISM, we celebrate Diwali for .  In Sikh Historydifferent reasons and call the Holiday Bandi Chor Divaas. In Sikh history - Diwali signifies the release of our 6th guru. In 1577, the foundation stone of the Golden Temple - our most holy temple - was laid on Diwali day. During the life of our 6th Guru, Guru Hargobind, the Muslim emperor Jahangir imprisoned Guru Hargobind and 52 kings along with him. People all over India begged the Emperor to release them and the Emperor agreed to release the Guru but the Guru said to also release the kings. The emperor agreed but with one condition - that only those kings who could hold onto the guru's cloak can be released so our GUru made a gown with 52 pieces of strings attached to it for the Hindu kings to hold. They were all freed on Diwali day. Lights were lit all over upon their release. The guru's mother was so happy her son was released that she ordered food and gave sweets to everyone. Many people float colored light candles on teh water at the Golden temple along with a big firework display.

A great version of the story is told here

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