More than 1 billion people celebrate on Diwali. What does it mean to them?
With more than a billion people celebrating Diwali, which comes this year on Oct. 27, the festival is one of the largest and most significant religious observances around the world. But the occasion carries different meanings for different religious communities.
In fact, Diwali has various interpretations even among the world’s various Hindu communities. Some Hindus recognize it as the day represented in the classic Hindu epic, Ramayana, when the protagonists, Rama and Sita, arrive in Ayodhya after 14 years of exile; Diwali is often celebrated as the day of their return. In the south of India, many Hindus mark Diwali as the day Krishna defeated the demon Narakasura and thereby freed the 16,000 girls in his captivity. In western India, many Hindu and Jain communities consider Diwali the first day of the new year.