Exploring Diwali: A Guide to Praying for HindusLorna Johnston
/Wednesday, November 1, 2023
Imagine a celebration that occurs at the darkest part of the year, includes candles and other bright lights, is marked by family feasts, special sweets, community events, greeting cards, gift-giving and special decorations.
Perhaps you think I’m writing about Christmas?
Would you be surprised to know that all these activities are part of the celebration of Diwali (also called Divali or Deepavali)?
Diwali is a Hindu festival (also observed by Jains and Sikhs) that is one of the most celebrated in Hindu culture. The festival is celebrated over 5-6 days, based on the Hindu lunar calendar—this year from November 10-15. Each day has a unique focus and activities that surround the central day of Diwali—this year on November 12.
Diwali is thought to symbolize the victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance. It is a celebratory, family and community-centered occasion honoring ancient religious beliefs and aiming to spread happiness while cultivating spiritual renewal. The focus is on righteousness, self-inspection, the importance of knowledge as a means of overcoming the darkness of ignorance with the belief that these will lead to prosperity and wealth.
Core to Hindu belief is the concept of dharma—the moral and ethical duties individuals must observe to live a righteous life. Hindus believe in reincarnation—the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth, guided by karma (the belief that actions have consequences whether in this life or the next). There are around 1.2 billion Hindus in the world today. Most live in India, but there are almost 1 million in Canada.
In John 8:12 we read,
“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”
As Hindus prepare for and celebrate Diwali, you are invited to join with the global church in concerted united prayer that they would come to know the one who is truly the Light of the World. A daily Hindu Prayer Guide, available in 33 languages, can be accessed here.
Let’s join together to pray that true light will shine in the Hindu world!
Lorna Johnston is the Diaspora Ministries Leader at Outreach Canada. She leads two national teams -- Simply Mobilizing Canada (SMC) and Loving Muslims Together (LMT). She works with teams of diverse and experienced leaders and ministries across Canada to alert and activate the church in Canada to the changing opportunities to engage God's mission right here in Canada.
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