New clothes, homes lit up by oil lamps and strings of sparkling lights, delicious food, sweets, firecrackers, and time with family and friends all come together in perhaps the most significant festival for Hindus, Diwali.
Diwali takes place in either October or November each year. The word Diwali is a shortened form of Deepavali, which means “row of lamps”. The third day (today) is the pinnacle of the festival—and the grandest, with Hindus all over the world joyfully celebrating the victory of good over evil, light over darkness.
As the sun sets, families complete the ritual worship of their god and then light hundreds of small clay oil lamps (diyas) from the main lamp used in the worship. Together, the family lights up the darkness by placing the lit diyas inside and outside of the home. Hindus around the world will tell stories behind the celebration, with many variations. Some light diyas to light the path for the goddess of wealth, Lakshmi, to enter their home. Others light the lamps in remembrance of when the people of Ayodhya lit the city with rows of diyas to welcome their king, Ram, back into his kingdom after saving his wife Sita from the demon king Ravan. Families then share a delicious meal, give sweets to family and friends, and light firecrackers late into the night.
Now, many followers of Jesus also choose to celebrate this beautiful festival by lighting lamps in remembrance of King Jesus entering this dark world as the Light. They joyfully worship as they celebrate His victory over the powers of darkness and God’s plan to spread this glorious light throughout the world.
WAYS TO PRAY:
PRAY THAT Christ-followers would seek ways to join in the warmth of this festival and be lamps set on a lampstand, giving light to all those around them. (Matthew 5:15)
PRAY FOR Christ-followers from Hindu families to joyfully celebrate their victorious King Jesus and to walk in their identity as a royal priesthood, to proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called them out of darkness into His marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9)
ON THIS very important day for Hindus, let us pray that Hindus worldwide would encounter the One who came into the world as the light of life, the One who achieved the complete victory over evil. (Colossians 1:13–14)