India and Pakistan may have been distributed into two nations, but the diverse religions in the countries continue to coexist to this day. Hence, every year, both the nations celebrate Diwali in full fervour. It is this mix of cultures, religions, and languages that make South Asian countries so intriguing to people all over the world.
Confused about the Diwali tradition? Keep reading to find out what the religious holiday is all about.
The story behind Diwali
Diwali is a Hindu festival that means “row of lights”. It celebrates the return of the gods Rama, Sita, Lakshmana, and Hanuman to the city of Ayodhya after 14 years of exile. Also known as the Festival of lights, some believe it to be the celebration of the goddess Lakshmi’s marriage with Lord Vishnu. Others use it to rejoice her birthday.
Since the celebration of Diwali basically signifies the triumph of good over evil, Sikhs in the 18th century also adapted the tradition to revel Guri Hargobind’s return to Amritsar after some time in captivity.
How is Diwali celebrated?
During Diwali, the temples and houses are decorated with lights, diyas and rangolis. Families then gather together and exchange gifts and blessings while often indulging in a night filled with dances and fireworks.
Importance of Rangoli: The festival of lights is incomplete without the old Indian tradition of Rangoli. This is because colours play an important role in Diwali and drawing rangoli is considered to have spiritual benefits. Spiritual gurus believe that rangoli is a science of creating energy and the design, symbols, lines and colours, all play a significant part.
Importance of lights: Diwali encourages people to brighten up their surroundings because lightsignifies purity, goodness, good luck and power in Hinduism. The existence of light means the non- existence of darkness and evil force.
Importance of firecrackers: It is said firecrackers are an essential part of the festival since they are lit to pay respect to the heavens for all the positive things one attains throughout the year. The sound of the firecrackers make the gods aware of how grateful man is to them.
Diwali in Pakistan
Even though Hindus are a minority in Pakistan, the current law and order situation is slowly changing to make sure no human rights of any religious community are violated. One of the biggest steps towards spreading tolerance is to accept festivals of different religions with open arms. While numerous politicians took on Twitter to wish their Hindu brother’s a ‘Happy Diwali’, celebrations were encouraged and lauded all over the nation.
Here’s how Diwali 2019 was welcomed in Pakistan:
Sindh: This year, the Sindh government announced a holiday for all its employees belonging to the Hindu community. On the week of the auspicious event, prayers were held in different temples all over the province,
In Hyderabad, pundits and devotees gathered at the Rama Pir Temple, Kali Temple and Shankar Temple. Whereas in Larkana, the community assembled at the Nawa Tak Mohalla Mandir in Larkana. Hindus in Karachi dressed up and headed to the 200-year-old Swaminarayan where the temple was adorned with lights and rangoli.
Punjab: There are two important Hindu temples in Lahore, however, this year, the Hindu community held a special ceremony at the Krishna temple on the religious occasion. The temple was exquisitely decorated with lights, idols and flowers, while the families present at the occasion were decked in their best outfits.
Balochistan: People from the Hindu community can be found in various parts of Balochistan including, Harnai, Dera Murad Jamali, and Dera Allah Yar. Not only is the region home to people of the Hindu faith, but also ancient Hindu temples such as the Shrine in Lasbela and the Kali Devi temple in Kalat.
Every year, the Hindu community in Balochistan celebrates Diwali by conducting a fireworks display followed by prayers. However, this year, the festival was celebrated in the province with simplicity to express solidarity with the Kashmiris who continue to face human rights violation by the Indian forces. Special prayers were also offered for the freedom of the suppressed.