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The Hindu community residing in Pakistan and around the world is celebrating the Diwali festival today with traditional religious zeal and fervor.
Known as the ‘festival of lights’, Diwali – or Deepavali – symbolises the spiritual victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance. According to the Hindu belief, it is observed in honour of deities Rama and Sita’s return to Ayodhya after their 14-year exile, and the destruction by Goddess Durga of a demon called Mahisha. Diwali also celebrates the goddess of wealth and prosperity, Lakshmi.
Diwali is the five-day festival of lights, celebrated by millions of Hindus, Sikhs and Jains across the world. The festival, which coincides with the Hindu New Year, celebrates new beginnings and the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness. It is celebrated by decorating houses with lamps called ‘diyas’, fairy lights and candles.
The festival is marked by large firework displays, to remember the celebrations which, according to the legend, took place upon Rama’s return as locals set off their own version of fireworks.
The Hindu community is celebrating the occasion with prayers and ceremonies planned at the various temples across Pakistan.
In Hyderabad, the pundits and devotees are holding prayers in different temples including Jay Bhawani Temple (Hirabad), Rama Pir Temple (Mochi Muhallah Sirrighat), GuruNanik Temple (Tilak Incline), Kali Temple (Feteh Chowk), ValmekTemple (Tando Wali Mohammad), Haray Krishna Temple (Cantt Area), Maa Durga Temple (Tando Wali Mohammad), Shankar Temple (Phullelli), Sain Baba Temple (ShahabCinema) and Lakhsmi Mata Temple (Qasimabad).
In Sukkur, the main gathering is being held at Sadhu Bela Temple. In Karachi, the Shri Swaminarayan Temple, among others, will be lit up to celebrate the occasion.
Prime Minister Imran Khan earlier today extended Diwali greetings to the Hindu community. “Wishing all our Hindu citizens a happy Diwali,” he tweeted.
Wishing all our Hindu citizens a happy Diwali.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) November 7, 2018
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry also wished a happy Diwali to those celebrating the festival. “Happy Diwali to Hindus in Pakistan and around the world, Diwali symbolises victory of good over evil, the struggle is continuing …,” he posted on Twitter.
Happy Diwali to Hindus in Pakistan and around the world, DiWali Symbolises Victory of good over evil, the struggle is continuing … #Diwali
— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) November 7, 2018
National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser on Tuesday greeted Hindu parliamentarians and community, and said Pakistan is a pluralistic country, enriched with cultural diversity, and celebrates each culture with equal zeal.
He also recognized the rich contributions of the Hindu community in the prosperity and development of the country.
Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also extended greetings to the Hindu community on the eve of the festival. In his message, he held out assurances to the non-Muslims living in Pakistan that his party will always stand for their protection and promotion as equal citizens of the state as per the vision of the founding fathers of the country and teachings of Islam.
Bilawal urged all those celebrating Diwali to hold special prayers for the peace, prosperity and progress of the country as well as for interfaith harmony and cohesive coexistence in the society. He also asked the party leaders, especially those of Minority Wing, to celebrate and share festivities with the have-nots.
Diwali falls between October and November of every year, but the exact dates change each year as it is based on a lunisolar calendar, which also takes into account the phases of the moon.
The occasion is considered auspicious for shopping, inaugurations of new homes, business deals or new ventures and projects.
The Sindh Government announced a three-day holiday for the Hindu community on account of the occasion, on November 7th, 8th and 9th.