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Diwali is a very important festival in India. It is similar to Christmas festivities here in Canada. The Punjabi Cultural Community of  Victoria celebrated the Festival of Lights at Commonwealth Recreation Centre in Victoria, B.C.  on November 9th, with more than 350 community members attending.

The festival is celebrated by all the communities in India and it has more than 5,000 years of tradition. Diwali is a time to turn inward, and light the lamp of knowledge and truth in our hearts and minds so that we can dispel the forces of darkness and ignorance.

Hindus celebrate Diwali to mark the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya after 14 years in exile and his victory over the Demon Kung Ravana. It is believed that the people lit oil lamps along the way to light their path in the darkness.

Sikhs celebrate Diwali as a Bandi Chhorh Diwas. It is the day when the 6th Guru Hargobind Singh Ji was freed from prison with 52 Hindu kings and princes from the Gwalior fort in 1619 and came to the holy city Amritsar. The Sikhs celebrated his return to the Golden Temple by lighting the oil lamps.

PHOTOS BY JOHN-EVAN SNOW

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