The Festival of Lights
By Aaina Chopra. Diwali is celebrated each year on a different date depending on the lunar calendar. In 2020 it is being celebrated on Saturday the 14th of November. It is celebrated by both Hindus and Sikhs around the world, however they both celebrate it for different reasons. The world ‘Diwali’ itself comes from the Sanskrit world ‘deepavali’, which means ‘rows of lighted lamps’. This is often why Diwali is known as the festival of lights and it is celebrated by lighting up homes, workplaces and places of worship with oil lamps known as ‘diyas’. Hindus and Sikhs around the world also celebrate using fireworks and fairy lights. Both Hindus and Sikhs celebrate Diwali, but as a celebration for different historical events. Hindus celebrate the return of the deities Rama and Sita to Ayodhya after their exile. This is known as the Ramayana story and a summary of the story can be found here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pp59n0So-XE if you want to find out more about the Hindu story behind Diwali. The diyas and lights that Hindu celebrate Diwali with represent the way Ayodhya was lit up for Rama and Sita’s homecoming. Sikhs celebrate the release from prison of the sixth Guru Hargobind Singh in 1619, this date is known as ‘Bandi Chhor Divas’ and it coincides with the historically celebrated day of Diwali. More history on the Sikh celebration of Diwali can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKLJ0XT1ZFY In addition to lighting diyas and fireworks, many families across the world celebrate Diwali by visiting families and friends. People, often, visit relatives and have grand feasts to celebrate the day. Often mithai (Indian sweets) are eaten and many wear their finest clothes to commemorate the day. Different regions have their own particular traditions for the day too, but a popular one is Rangoli. This is when colourful powders are used to create beautiful patterns on the entrances of homes to welcome Gods and bring good luck. If you are celebrating Diwali this year, we hope you have a positively great day and stay safe. Happy Diwali!