THE SIGNIFICANCE OF DIWALI IN DIFFERENT RELIGIONS

The word “DIWALI” is derived from two words ‘deep’, which means lamp or diyas, and ‘’ avali’’ which means row – so the meaning stands for a row of lights. During the festival of Diwali all the houses in India, offices, and streets are decorated with lights or handmade lamps. However, the real meaning of Diwali is more than just being the festival of light. Let’s know the beautiful inner meaning of Diwali from the excerpts of Tulsidas’s Ramayana:
Diwali was celebrated originally to celebrate Lord Rama’s return along with Laxman and Sita to Ayodhya after eliminating the demon or asura Ravana. This was celebrated to glorify the triumph of truth and wise over evil and throughout the ages although celebration had taken several modifications the inner meaning remains the same.

Diwali is a diverse Hindu festival and surprisingly it has significance in other religions as well namely Sikhism, Jainism, and Buddhism. Let’s explore the importance of Diwali in these religions in brief:

DIWALI IN HINDUISM

By peddhapati – Flickr: 307/365: 11/03/2013. Diwali (Festival of lights)!, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29523103

Apart from a celebration of truth and good over evil and Lord Rama ‘s return to Ayodhya Hindus also celebrate this as the beginning of the year by getting rid of the old and ushering in the new. People clean their houses as well as people wearing colorful clothing. .The goddess of wealth Laxmi is also worshipped. People also pray to Lord Ganesha. Rangoli or decorations with color is seen in the houses and in offices. People also burn firecrackers and the entire sky looks lit up in the dark.

SIKHS CELEBRATION OF DIWALI

GOLDEN TEMPLE AMRTSAR

Sikhs observe Bandi Chor Divas and they technically do not celebrate Diwali, however, this special day coincides with Diwali. This is a special day for the emperor released the Sikhs as their Sixth Guru Hargobind as well as other fifty-two Hindu prices. When the Guru reached Amritsar, the entire city was lit up in lights in his celebration.

CELEBRATION OF THE JAINS

JANISM

Diwali is celebrated as a resemblance of Lord Mahavir and his teachings. Mahavira was a teacher of compassion and tolerance and was always explaining the importance of all living beings and the practice of equality. According to the Jain beliefs with all his teachings when Mahavira passed on, he actually gained his Moksha or ultimate freedom from the circle of reincarnation. As a tradition, the Jains illuminate their homes with light to remember the occasion

Thus, through the celebration of Diwali once again the unity in diversity of Indian cultures is always manifested.  Happy Diwali!


-Indrani Banerjee

Indrani is  from the “city of joy” Kolkata , India. However she has been living in the United States since 2005 and at present she is based in Las Vegas, Nevada.  She holds an MBA degree from University Of North Alabama. She is the business lead for major manufacturing company.  She is passionate about poetry and literature and other forms of arts like music and cinema . She  enjoys her happy hour with her friends and often takes on adventurous outings or vacations, which include rafting , base jump or skydiving . To sum up , her life is measured by “3 F’s namely fun, food, and friends .

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