Diwali or Deepavali is the “festival of lights” celebrated all throughout the world by people from different regions and religions. It is traditionally a five-day long festival celebrated by the Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and Buddhist for different reasons. The date of the festival of Diwali usually falls between mid-October and mid-November.
Let’s take a look at what Diwali or Deepavali signifies for various religions
Jainism:For the Jain community Diwali honours Mahavira. Mahavira attained moksha or nirvana in 527 BC on this day. Jains celebrate this festival by lighting lamps acknowledging Lord Mahavira’s teachings and greatness.
The festivities begin with a three-day fast as well as the recitation of sacred Jain hymns. They also believe that meditating for these three days helps them achieve moksha. Houses are then decorated with lights and lamps. They also believe in worshiping goddess Laxmi, the goddess of wealth and opening new businesses on this day.
Sikhism:Diwali has a special significance for Sikhs. It is this day that their sixth guru, Guru Hargobind was released from prison. Guru Hargobind also rescued 52 Hindu Kings that were held prisoner in the Gwalior fort by the Mughal Emperor. After his release, Guru Hargobind went directly to the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India where thousands of lamps and candles were lit to commemorate his welcome.
Today, sweets are prepared at home and the water body surrounding the temple is lit with hundreds of floating candles. They also engage in a procession to celebrate the release of their Guru. Akhand paath or the non-stop reading of Guru Granth Sahab, the sacred book of Sikhism is also performed as a part of the celebrations. Fireworks light up the skies in the evening to mark the day.
Buddhism:Buddhist celebrate Diwali as Ashok Vijaydashmi – in the memory of King Ashok. They chant mantras and remember this day as a day when lord Ashok embraced Buddhism and gave up all of his kingdom and worldly goods. Buddhist temples and monasteries from all over the world are decorated with lights and candles and Buddha is worshiped.
Hinduism:For Hindus from all over the world, Diwali is the most awaited festival of the year. The five-day long celebrations begin with the worship of goddess of wealth and the buying of new utensils. The second day signifies the death of evil, the third and main day celebrates joy and happiness and people pray for wealth and prosperity. The fourth day is the beginning of New Year and is considered to be auspicious for starting new businesses. The fifth and final day is dedicated to the brother-sister relationship.