On November 3, 2013, Diwali will be celebrated by the Jains, Sikhs and the Hindus. Diwali is meant to symbolize the triumph of knowledge over darkness, light over dark and good over evil.
In the Hindu calendar, Diwali, a festival of lights, is regarded as one of the biggest and most happening festivals. Diwali is celebrated by fireworks, lighting lamps, distributing sweets, cleaning the house and gathering with family and friends. Diwali is also regarded as the starting of a new year in many Hindu communities. People greet each other by saying ‘Shubh Diwali.’
In the Sanskrit epic, Ramayana, when Sita, Rama and Lakshmana had returned to Ayodhya after vanquishing the devil, Ravana, the people of Ayodhya had lit lamps for welcoming Sita, Rama and Lakshmana. Since then, this tradition has been followed by the Hindus. On this day, Hindus gather together for offering their prayers to Sita, Rama and Lakshmana. The term Diwali has been derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Deepavali’, the meaning of which is a row of lights.
For the Sikhs, Diwali is regarded as the commemoration of the release of the sixth Sikh guru, Guru Hargobind whom the Mughal emperor, Jahangair had imprisoned. The devotees of Guru Hargobind had celebrated his return by lighting thousands of oil lamps. This day is regarded as Bandi Chhor Divas which is the release day from prison by the Sikhs. Diwali is also celebrated by reading the holy text from the Guru Granth Sahib and by lighting lamps.
For the Jains, Diwali is celebrated as the fulfillment of Lord Mahavira’s enlightenment. Lord Mahavira was the twenty fourth Tirthankara of Jainism and by whom the central tenets of the Jain religion had been laid down just the way it is celebrated today. Diwali is celebrated by fasting, lighting oil lamps, practicing charity acts and distributing sweets.
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