Diwali is here and it’s time to light up your life with a special event in Mission.
A Diwali event is being held this Saturday, Oct. 22, from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Clarke Theatre.
The event is free but money will be raised towards the Mission Rotary Club.
Mission’s Diwali is adapted from, and closely follows, the most popular festival celebrated in India. Diwali symbolizes the victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance.
This year’s festival will feature classical and folk Indian dances, plus other musical and dance entertainment produced and presented by local youth dance schools.
“The Festival of Lights is all about bringing the community together to embrace our diversity,” said one of the organizers, Satti Grewal. “Diwali highlights the unique cultural roots of our Indian community and gives Mission a chance to experience our right traditions.”
Along with a delicious buffet, local vendors, a henna booth, face painting and hands-on activities, there will be something for everyone. The festival is organized by Grewal, and sponsored by the Mission Punj-Aab Cultural Club and SUMR Productions.
So, what is Diwali?
Here is a short look into what, why and how Diwali is celebrated by many South Asians in the Mission area.
Diwali, also known as the Festival of Lights, usually falls in either October or November as its date is based on the Hindu lunar calendar.
Diwali is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists. It celebrates victory of good over evil and light over darkness.
Diyas – small shallow receptacles made of clay that hold purified butter – are lit to ward off evil and to usher in goodness with light.
Followers of each religion go to their respective place of worship to pray and light the diyas on this holy night. Lit diyas are laid in a row around the perimeter of one’s home as well as in front of the altar, if one has an altar at home.
There are many different legends as to how and why particular Indians celebrate Diwali.
For Sikhs, Diwali is particularly important because it celebrates the release from prison of the sixth guru, Guru Hargobind Ji, and 52 other princes with him, in 1619.
The Sikh tradition holds that Mogul Emperor Jahangir agreed to release Guru Hargobind Ji but said only those princes who could hold onto his cloak tail would be allowed to leave the prison as well.
In response, Guru Hargobind Ji had a cloak made with 52 pieces of string so each prince was able to hold onto one string and leave prison. Followers lit diyas to celebrate their guru’s homecoming.
Hindus follow the legend of Lord Rama and his wife Sita’s return home after 14 years in exile and also of Lord Rama’s epic battle with the demon King Rawan, whom he kills.
The people of Ayodha, home of Lord Rama, were so excited to hear that their beloved future king was coming home that they lit the way for him and his wife Sita with diyas.
People who celebrate Diwali also dress up, exchange gifts with family and friends, similar to celebrating Christmas.
- With files from the Surrey Now Leader