• Create Taiwan

Diwali - Festival of Lights

Last week Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains celebrated Diwali, a five-day cultural and religious festival, which celebrates the triumph of good over evil. Depending on where the holiday is celebrated, each day of Diwali has special significance.

The first day is devoted to cleaning and decorating their homes and keeping lights burning throughout the night. Many make big purchases on that day. The second day is for cleansing, bathing and getting rid anything evil and negative. The third day is Diwali and people wear their best clothes and worship the goddess of prosperity and wealth. The fourth day celebrates the marital bond and the fifth day, the bond between brothers and sisters.

What do Christians do?

I asked one of the leaders of Create International’s teams around the world, Create India. Anima lives in Jaipur, India. “Christians never celebrated Diwali because of the origin of the festival,” she said. “In the last fifteen years or so it's been called festival of lights, light overcoming the evil or darkness. There are some contextualized churches that celebrate Diwali to redeem it.”

What does it mean to “redeem” a cultural and religious festival for a Christian? One example from Western history is that Easter was originally celebrated as a pagan festival devoted to the goddess of fertility, then transformed by church leaders to celebrate Jesus rising from the dead. Another example is mistletoe and placing cut green trees into Western homes in order to celebrate Christmas. These customs have pagan origins, and yet, they have become part of the celebration of the birth of Christ.

By partnering with Indian believers to help craft a story in a way that would make the message relevant to Hindus, the Frontier Comic Seminar (FCS) created a gospel comic called, Gift of Light. Anima along her husband, Simon, who helped with the project, shared her thoughts.

“I believe we can celebrate Diwali in the light, that Jesus is light and He overcame the darkness or evil.”

“I believe we can celebrate Diwali in the light, that Jesus is light and He overcame the darkness or evil. I feel that the Enemy is trying to steal the glory of Jesus, the real victory over darkness. For about 10 years, we as Create India celebrated Diwali with worship, intercession, lit diyas (clay lamps), and with food and sweets. We even distributed sweets saying ‘Jesus is the light of the world—Celebrate Jesus.’ Diwali is so much part of the culture, it should be celebrated in a redeemed way so that the new followers of Jesus don't feel lost, and still have their identity and a place in their society.”

Indian Christians, just like many Christians around the world, have sought to resolve issues of worship while participating in cultural celebrations alongside their neighbors. Many do not celebrate Diwali, and some do. The question to ask as we seek to live out the gospel within one’s culture is, how do we remain culturally relevant and yet faithful to scripture as we worship our God?

  • Wendy H.



41 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All