27 October 2021

Diwali 2021

PCS wishes you a happy and peaceful Diwali.  May the beauty of Diwali season fill your home with happiness, and may the coming year provide you with all that brings you joy.

Diwali is the five-day festival of lights, which runs from 1 to 6 November, with the day being celebrated on 4 November. It is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains across the world.  Sikhs also celebrate Bandi Chhor Divas on the same day as Diwali.

Diwali symbolises the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance. Each religion observes different events and stories during the festival. The word Diwali comes from the Sanskrit word deepavali, meaning “rows of lighted lamps”.

Diwali and Bhandi Chor Divas 2021

What happens during Diwali?

  • Devotees light oil lamps called diyas 
  • They worship Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of prosperity and wealth
  • Families share a feast and exchange gifts
  • People celebrate with fireworks and festivities.

History

Diwali is said to have begun as a harvest festival. Farmers would give thanks for the harvest and pray for the coming year. Today many Indian businesses use the first day of Diwali to mark the end of the fiscal year.

According to Indian custom, the second day of the festival celebrates the killing of the demon Narakasura by Lord Krishna and his wife. The third day celebrates the generosity of the goddess Lakshmi and her willingness to grant her followers' wishes. The fourth day remembers the god Bali, who was sent to rule the lower realms of the universe. On the fifth day, referred to as Yama Dvitiya, sisters invite their brothers into their homes for a large feast.

Sikh - Bandi Chhor Divas celebration

Bandi Chhor Divas celebrates the release of Guru HarGobind Singh from prison.  The holiday therefore celebrates this freedom as well as Guru Har Gobind Singh's return to the Golden Temple in Amritsar.  According to tradition, Guru Hargobind Singh was released from prison in Gwalior and reached Amritsar on the day others celebrated Diwali,

Jain Diwali tradition

On Diwali, Jains take time to remember and celebrate Lord Mahavira's attainment of Nirvana. Mahavira, who was a contemporary of Gautama Buddha, was the last Jain tirthankara — a person who has conquered the cycle of death and rebirth — of this cosmic time cycle.

Buddhist Diwali tradition

Diwali marks Emperor Ashoka's decision to follow a path of peace after witnessing a great deal of bloodshed and death and subsequently, his conversion to Buddhism. On Diwali, therefore, Buddhists celebrate the emperor and Buddha, as well as the spiritual importance of light, goodness, and enlightenment.

Share your stories

Many British citizens celebrate this great festival of Diwali and Bandi Chhor Divas and we would welcome your stories which can be sent to equality@pcs.org.uk.