Diwali symbolises the spiritual “victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance”. Diwali is a main religious feast that Hindu people celebrate. Diwali is celebrated at the end of every autumn to commemorate the victory of Hindu god Lord Ram over evil Ravana and how he spent 14 years in tranquillity. Remembering the event when Lord Ram rescued Sita from the captivity of Demon Rawan. The feast celebrates the return of Ram, his wife Sita, and his brother Lakhshmi, after many years of exile in the forest.
Diwali is celebrated with a variety of rituals which centre on the lighting of candles, electric lights and fireworks. Fireworks are very loud indeed and I needed to put my hands to my ears so as to lessen the effect of the deafening sound. People exchange gifts and homemade sweets, clean and decorate homes, wear new clothes, dance, feast and forgive one another.
There are approximately one billion Hindus in the world, making it the third largest religion with about fourteen per cent of the world’s population. It is an Indian religion and Dharma (‘Way of Life’). It is the major religion in India practised by about 970 million people or 80% of the population. 95% of Hindus live in India, with the remaining 30 million living in Nepal, Bali (Indonesia), Pakistan and other countries.
Pakistan’s population of 207.7 million is made up of approximately 96% Muslim, 1.7% Hindu and 1.6% Christian. Therefore there are about 3.3 million Hindus living in Pakistan. Many Hindus live in Tharparkar (Province of Sindh) , with most living in the many outlying villages. Most work as landless peasant farmers and are poor. St Paul’s School, situated in the church compound in Tharparkar district.
The Pakistani Hindu community also lit earthen lamps in the night and fireworks were also be exhibited to celebrate the festival. Apart from Karachi, Lahore, and other major cities, festivities were also held in Umerkot, Mithi, Matiari, Tando Allahyar, Tando Muhammad Khan, Jamshoro, Badin, Sanghar, Hala, Tando Adam, and Shahdadpur.
The homes and temples were brightly lit with many candles and lights. The “Row of Lights” for which the Dewali Festival is named are lit on the ‘New Moon Light’ to welcome Lakhshmi, ‘the goddess of wealth’.
For many Hindus, Diwali is also New Year’s eve as Diwali is held on the final day of the Vikram (Jantri) calendar.Diwali symbolises the spiritual victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance. It also celebrates a good year of harvests and honours the goddess of wealth. While we were guests in a room, a member of the family came in with a flaming fire on a stick and circled this around the room. This was to chase away any evil that may be in the house.
On the first day, the celebration takes place within one’s own family. On the second day, visitation is made to relations with gifts and sweets exchanged. Over these days they also visit the graves of loved ones where they offer prayers, clean the graves, and place candles, incense sticks and roses on them.
Prayer is an important part of the Diwali celebration as well as also in their daily lives. Prayer is offered before sunrise, at sunset and other times. On entering the temple, a bell is rung. The bell calls the divinity to attend to the devotee’s prayer.
Although Hinduism is often understood as being polytheistic, supposedly recognising as many as 330 million gods, it also has ‘one god’, that is Supreme Brahma. Brahma is an entity believed to inherit every portion of reality and existence throughout the entire universe.
Scholars describe Hinduism as the product of religious development in India that spans nearly 4,000 years, making it perhaps the oldest surviving world religion. It is often referred as “the Eternal Tradition” on “the Eternal Way” beyond human history.