On 24th October, Premier Doug Ford issued the following statement to mark the Diwali and Bandi Chhor Divas holidays:
“Today across Ontario and all around the globe, those of the Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist and Jain faiths are beginning their celebrations of Diwali.
Also called the Festival of Lights, Diwali is one of the world’s largest celebrations: commemorating the spiritual victory of light over darkness.
Those observing the five-day Diwali festival will decorate their homes, share gifts, meals and sweets with family and friends, spend time in prayer and celebrate with diya lamp lightings and fireworks displays.
The Sikh community is also preparing to mark the Bandi Chhor Divas holiday, which falls on the same date as Diwali.
Also known as Prisoner Liberation Day, Bandi Chhor Divas dates back to 1619 and honours the occasion on which Guru Hargobind gained his freedom from unjust imprisonment, freeing 52 fellow innocents at the same time.
In commemoration of the Guru’s journey to freedom, Sikhs light candles and fireworks, sing sacred songs, and prepare a festive langar feast.
These two holidays are a wonderful chance to gather together as a community, and to reflect on the days behind us while trusting the light of knowledge to guide us forward in the days ahead.
On behalf of the government of Ontario, I wish a happy Diwali and Bandi Chhor Divas to all those celebrating.”