Every year, local gurdwaras/temples in West London keep many candles outside the entrance for people to light up and place them near the others. However, last year due to Covid, it was quite unusual, and not many candles were allowed to be lit up by people.

Diwali and Bandi Chhor are both different festivals but are celebrated on the same day for two different religions. Diwali is celebrated by Hindus. It is to celebrate the story of where Lord Ram and his wife Sita Devi (and her brother) returned home after 14 years spent in banishment. On this day the people in the village lit up the path for Ram to mark the triumph of him defeating Ravan (the devilish king). And therefore, every year, Hindus gather with their family and friends to celebrate this significant festival.

Bandi Chhor is celebrated by Sikhs, to represent the story of their 6th guru releasing 52 kings along with him from the Gwalior prison, where they were held there for many months (as they were thought to be planning a revenge). The emperor decided to release the prisoners and the Guru but included a condition. The condition was that the prisoners can only be let out if they can hold onto the Guru’s long coat and the Guru took this into consideration. He made his tailor make him an extra-long coat to then release all the Kings/princes, which was all a success. To celebrate this commemoration, candles were lit up.

Hindus and Sikhs both use light to represent the destruction of evil and for a sign of hope and good luck in the future.

Unlike last year, where ‘it was like our Christmas is gone’ due to Covid, people have hope to return to a normal Diwali/Bandi Chhor this year where they are able to light up candles at their local temple and attend Leicester’s golden mile, which is back on the streets for this year.

Leicester's Golden mile is a yearly celebration for Diwali in which there are food stalls, funfair rides, music and many more activities to participate in. Last year, due to Covid, the event was virtual and not as exciting as it usually was. But this year it is back on, in which there will be two screens to view a countdown and at exactly 6:30 PM the lights will turn on showing the glorious event. People are thrilled for this event even if there are some limited measures (small groups).

This year is a good sign to have the normal celebrations. People are ready and are starting to buy all their divas (oil lamps) and fireworks for the celebration on the 4th of November where everyone will gather up to celebrate the festival, hoping for it to be back to the usual.

All Sikhs and Hindus hope you’ve learnt about their religion and that you’ll join in with their celebration- May the festival of light spread joy and happiness for everyone.

Happy Diwali/Bandi Chorr!!