This Sunday (27 October) is Diwali — the festival of lights celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains across the world.
Each religion has different reasons for celebrating the festival, but its overall symbolism is of the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, and good over evil.
For Hindus, this is represented by the story of Rama and Sita, who were exiled from their kingdom for 14 years. When they returned, people lit their way home with thousands of oil lamps.
For Sikhs, the festival is also a celebration of the freedom of the sixth guru, Guru Hargobind, who was released from prison in 1619 alongside 52 other princes. To welcome him, Sikhs lit up the Golden Temple in Amritsar, which at the time was just 15 years old.
For Jains, Diwali is the anniversary of the spiritual leader Lord Mahavira finding enlightenment in 527 BC.
Today during Diwali, people from across the three religions decorate their homes with spectacular lights, exchange gifts and attend impressive firework displays.
Light is one of the most universal symbols of goodness and hope, no matter what religion you are part of. What does it symbolise to you? Can you imagine a world in darkness?
Read Our Stories
World ‘losing night’ due to light pollution
Should we be less afraid of the dark? A new survey shows that light pollution is increasing, posing risks to us and our environment. Campaigners are trying to reverse that trend.
Artificial stars could redesign the night sky
Why not re-write the stars? We have the ability. Already, Japan wants to create fake meteor showers, China wants an artificial moon for street lighting and Russia wants to sell advertising.
Nuclear powers India and Pakistan on red alert
The world holds its breath as Pakistan shoots down an Indian jet and the two historic enemies trade threats. A top scientist has warned that war between them could cause two billion deaths.
In this video, BBC Teach recounts the story of Rama and Sita in a simple animation. What messages can we learn from this story that are still relevant today?
- Make “Happy Diwali” cards to give to your loved ones. Make sure they are colourful!
- Draw a cartoon outlining the story of Diwali for either Hindus, Sikhs or Jains.
- Write a poem or short story on the theme of light.