People gather in along the edges of the lake in the Golden Temple complex, drawing buckets of water that they then pass onto a volunteer who washes nearby marble floor with it. Within a matter of minutes, and in absolutely stunning synchronization, the floors of the entire complex are washed clean. Both men and women participate, with a precision and sense of sincerity that is truly impressive to watch.
Significance of Diwali for Sikhs: Diwali is a panoramic festival of lights that spans and unites the various regions and people of India. Here are some events that link the importance of Diwali for Sikhs:
The third Guru, Guru Amar Das, marked Diwali as an important day where by the Sikhs would gather together in congregation in the presence of the Guru.
In 1577, the foundation stone of Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple) in Amritsar was laid on Diwali.
The sixth Guru, Guru Har Gobind, was held in captivity as a result of religious persecution, and upon his release and arrival at Harmandar Sahib (Golden Temple), Amritsar, the Sikhs celebrated his return by lighting the Golden Temple with lamps. The Guru also freed 52 other kings that were also held captive. This event is also referred to as Bandi Chhorh Diwas.
The Sikhs would gather and discuss important community affairs and issues on Diwali.
There is a famous saying in Punjabi which signifies the importance of Diwali : Daal roti ghar di, Diwali Amritsar Di.
Sikhs celebrate Diwali in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib, along with the annual lighting up of Golden Temple, fireworks and other festivities.
“During the curfew, when we couldn’t leave our home and the electricity was still cut, trucks and trucks piled with dead bodies passed in front of our alleyway at night. We’d sneak open the blinds a little bit to see, because [the Central Reserve Police] wouldn’t let us open the windows. These were open trucks, very big. Dead bodies, thrown one on top of the other. Our home was on the way out from the city center. They’d take the trucks full of corpses away to be cremated.”
-From a woman who lived 2 kilometers from the Golden Temple during June 1984 attack.