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The Festival of Light and Liberation, Sikh Style

Diwali is celebrated in various ways by South Asian peoples. The Sikh celebration adds politics to the mix.

By Sonny Singh

Indians around the world celebrated Diwali, the festival of lights, on October 23. The holiday—which celebrates the victory or light over darkness, good over evil, and truth over ignorance—is rooted in the Hindu tradition, but celebrated by non-Hindus as well. In Richmond Hill in Queens, for example, the Indo-Guyanese community holds an annual motorcade parade for the holiday. For Sikhs, the holiday is an occasion for a more politicized remembrance. On October 23, Sikhs celebrated Bandi Chhor Divas, or Prisoner Release Day.