Me and my community
What events bring the Hindu community together?
Diwali is one of the biggest festivals celebrated by the Hindu community. Sikhs also celebrate the event. Diwali means row of lights and the celebrations take place over five days.
Many Hindus celebrate by decorating their homes, shops and the mandir (Hindu place of worship) with diyas (clay lamps).
What does Diwali celebrate?
Diwali celebrates the Ramayana, which is an epic poem telling the story of Hindu deities, Rama and Sita. In the story, Rama is sent away to a far-off country by his father. Rama leaves with his wife, Sita, but Sita gets kidnapped by a wicked demon called Ravana. The monkey god, Hanuman, helps Rama save Sita and kill Ravana so they can finally return home. This story is about good overcoming evil. Lamps were lit to guide Rama and Sita home, and this is why most Hindus light diya lamps during Diwali today.
Hindus also celebrate Diwali to honour the goddess Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of fortune. Most Hindus believe that if their house is clean and there are diya lamps to light the way, then she will visit their home, bringing good fortune for the coming year. During Diwali, the mandir is also decorated with lights and murtis (images or statues of the Hindu gods or goddesses) are dressed in new clothes and offered food. Hindus believe Lakshmi will bless the food (prasad), which will be shared out amongst the community.
How is Diwali celebrated?
Diwali brings Hindu communities together, to celebrate light overcoming darkness and good defeating evil. Many Hindus celebrate at home and in the mandir by giving presents to each other, sharing meals, singing, dancing and going to firework displays. It is also a time to thank Lakshmi for everything they have. Many Hindus do this by giving money and food to the poor, and this is called dana.
Other Hindu Festivals
During the festival of Holi, many Hindus remember the mischievous ways of the god Krishna, and how, as a young boy, he used to play tricks on people. To celebrate the festival, Hindus often throw coloured powder over each other, followed by water fights.