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Know your Diwali: Hindu and Sikh festival of lights

“We celebrate by lighting candles with our family and friends, delicious food and we wear our traditional outfits.” Jivina, Karleen and Harmannat tell us. “Hindu and Sikh traditions are that we make ‘Matai’ which are Indian sweets which we share with friends and relatives, we light diyas which are Indian lamps, light firecrackers, we clean our homes and finally we visit our Hindu temple and Sikh Gurdwara to pray.” “Diwali is a time to be with family and friends and enjoy being together.”

“Diwali in Hinduism is always celebrated in October or November depending on the position of the moon", explains Jivina. “It is the celebration of the return of Ram, Sita and Lakshman after they had been banished to the forest for 14 years. The whole kingdom was lit upon their return from the forest to the palace, this is why we celebrate Diwali.”

“The Sikh Diwali is slightly different from the Hindu Diwali,” Harmannat points out. “The history of Sikh Diwali comes from our 6th Guru, Hargobind who freed 52 kings from a Mogul Emperor. On their return home the community celebrated by lighting up the villages and towns with lights, and this is the history behind the Sikh Diwali.”