Sikh Diwali Bandi Chhor Diwas
Diwali the festival of light and happiness come at Amavasya of Kartik month (at the end of October or beginning of November). Diwali is also known as Dipawali. Dipawali is a Sanskrit word which means ‘row of light’.
Diwali is celebrated by Hindus, Jains and Sikhs and all other follower of Indian culture accross the world. We know that Diwali is celebrated by Hindus but here we are going to discuss how does Sikhs celebrate Diwali? , what’s the difference between Sikhs and Hindu Diwali?, why Sikhs celebrate Diwali? And What is bandichhor divas?
Why Sikhs celebrate Diwali
Diwali was historically celebrated by Hindus & Sikhs alike, which was based on the ancient Hindu scriptures of Ram returning from 14 year exile with Sita, Laxman & Hanuman. However, this also coincides with a very historic day for the Sikhs. Diwali is especially important for Sikhs. Sikhs celebrate diwali as Bandi Chhor Divas, or the day of liberation. It was the day, when 6th Guru, Guru HargobindSahibji, was released from Gwalior prison by the Mughal Emperor Jahangir.
Since then, The BandiChhor Divas is celebrated in a manner similar to the Hindu Diwali,
Lighting of homes and offices or shops
Gifts & Sweets are exchanged between friends & family.
a fireworks display
Nagar Keertan(a street procession)
Akhandpaath(a continuous reading of Guru Nanak Sahib),
Sikhs consider this occasion as a scared time to visit Gurdwaras and spend time with their families.
Are Sikhs Different From Hindus?
Poet Kumar Vishwas says that Sikhs are elder son of Hindu family. They are part of Hindu family, not other one.
Bandi Chhor Diwas
To understand difference Sikh diwali and Hindu diwali and significance of Bandi Chhor Divas it is very important to know the history behind it. Guru Hargobind’s father Guru Arjan Dev was arrested under the orders of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir and he was asked to convert to Islam. He refused, was tortured and executed in 1606. This event is remembered as a defining moment in Sikh history.
After the execution, Guru Hargobind sahibji succeeded his father as the next Guru of Sikhism. He was only 11, & was crowned as the sixth Sikh Guru because of the execution of Guru Arjan by Mughal Emperor Jahangir, Guru Hargobind from the very start was a dedicated enemy of the Mughal rule.
He advised Sikhs to arm and fight and emphasise the military dimension of the Sikh community. To defend oppression ‘Protect Hindus” from forced conversions to Islam
For this reason, Jahangir imprisoned Hargobind Sahibji together with a lot of hindu kings & sages. He was only 14 when he was imprisoned and then released approx. two years later.
The Mughal Emperor Jahangir met with Guru during his imprisonment and became close to him – partly because the Guru’s prayers were thought to have cured the Emperor of a serious illness.
Such was the debt the Emperor owed Guru Hargobindji, he agreed to release him but the Guru refused to accept unless he could take 52 princes (Rajas) with him. The Emperor was at first reluctant, but agreed to letting any prisoners free who could hold onto the Guru’s cloak, thinking this would serious limit the number.
The Guru brilliantly ordered the making of a special cloak with fifty-two tails & tassles.
As the Guru walked out of the gates of the prison, the fifty-two princes followed, each holding on to his own corner of the amazing cloak.
Guru Hargobind became known as Bandi-Chhor, the Liberator. Several days letter, Guru Hargobind reached Amritsar, The festival of light, Diwali was being celebrated as Bandi Chhor Diwas. In joy at seeing Guru Hargobind Singh again the people light up the whole city with candles and light lamps. Bandi chhor Divas first took place in autumn of 1619 (in October and November). The date changes according to lunar calendar.