There is a big celebration underway in the D and around the world. It’s Diwali, the festival of lights celebrated by Sikhs, Hindus, and Jains in the Indian Community. The holiday is symbolized by lighting candles and there are often fireworks as well. It is India’s biggest and most important holiday of the year.
Local 4′s Priya Mann loves celebrating the 5 day festival with her loved ones and came on Live in the D to share some of her culture with all of us. The holiday, she says, is really about the triumph of light over darkness, “the victory of knowledge over ignorance.” It’s a time for people to come together with their families. Hindus will pray to the goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity and wealth. Sikhs, like Mann and her family, will go to the gurdwara, a place of worship, to pray and eat together.
Mann recalled as a child growing up in Toronto, waking up and her mom making them clean the house top to bottom. “Which was not my favorite part,” Mann joked. As night fell they would turn on all of the lights and light a bunch of candles.
On Instagram, she posted pictures of her celebrations, including the lighting of the diyas, beautiful oil lamps often made from clay. She explained that these diyas would help farmers and other people find their way back to their homes.
While Diwali is always celebrated in November, the exact day changes every year because it is based on the lunar calendar.
For Sikhs in particular, this is a time to celebrate the release from prison of their sixth guru, Guru Hargobind. He was wrongfully imprisoned, and was allowed to leave with whoever could hold onto his coattails. Wanting to free the 52 other kings who were imprisoned with him, he had a cloak made with 52 tassels so each prince could hold onto a piece of the cloak and leave with him.
To hear the full interview, watch the video above.