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Do Sikhs Celebrate Diwali?

Do Sikhs Celebrate Diwali?

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During Diwali, Hindus around the globe will light numerous candles and enjoy fireworks displays. However, you may also observe members of other faiths participating in Diwali rituals, Sikhs being one of them.

Consequently, why do Sikhs light candles during Diwali?

What is Bandi Chhor Divas ?

Sikhs do not celebrate Diwali; rather, they celebrate Bandi Chhor Divas, which translates to “Prisoner Release Day” and occurs at the same time of year as Diwali, therefore the two are combined.

Prisoner Release Day commemorates the release of the sixth Guru, Guru Har Gobind Sahib, and 52 princes from Gwalior Prison in India in 1619.

The day is celebrated as a victory of good over evil and a tribute to the Guru who rescued the lives of 52 men without resorting to violence.

It is thought that the sixth Guru, along with hundreds of others who were entirely innocent, were imprisoned as political prisoners by the Mughals.

The Mughal Emperor Jahangir met Guru during his imprisonment and grew close to him, in part because Guru protected him from a lion when he was out hunting and in part because Guru’s prayers were said to have cured the Emperor of a terrible sickness.

The Emperor was so indebted to Guru Har Gobind that he consented to release him, but Guru Har Gobind insisted on taking 52 princes (Rajas) with him.

The Emperor was initially hesitant but eventually decided to release any captives who could hang onto the Guru’s cloak, reasoning that this would drastically reduce the number.

However, the Guru outwitted the Emperor by fashioning a cloak with fifty-two tails (described as strings in some sources) so that all the Rajas could hold on and walk to freedom with him.

On Bandi Chhor Divas, the selflessness of the Guru is commemorated at Gurudwara Bandi Chhor (the Sikh Temple constructed on the site of the Guru’s captivity) with ‘Deewalee’ (earthen oil lamps), candles, and fireworks.

Sikhs may also choose to do a pilgrimage to the Golden Temple (Sri Harmandir Sahib), the most significant pilgrimage site in the religion.