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COMMON QUESTIONS


Do Sikhs celebrate Diwali ? Is tying a "Rakhri" or "Rakhi" a Sikh ritual? Why or why not?



Yes. On Diwali day fireworks are displayed at the Golden Temple, Amritsar. Sikhs gather there in maximum numbers on that day. Diwali day has a different significance for people of different faiths. For many people, it is more a social celebration of happiness than a religious day. We are not sure if some religious connections attributed to that day are historically true or not. It is, however, known that Bhai Mani Singh Shaheed, during the early 18th century, started the gathering of the Khalsa at Amritsar twice a year, once on Baisakhi (spring), and the second time on Diwali (autumn).

The Rakhri ritual is not a Sikh ritual. Its practice does not fit in the Sikh philosophy. Rakhi or Rakhri means protection. This is a custom among some Hindus. Accepting a Rakhri from a girl, sister or a cousin means that the boy takes the responsibility of protecting her if she happens to get into any trouble. As a token of his promise, he gives some money to the girl after she ties the Rakhri on his wrist. The ritual of Rakhri assumes that a girl cannot protect herself. This gives second-rate status to the women. Hence, it is not an approved custom among the Sikhs. According to historic tradition, the Rakhi or Rakhri was a magic thread tied by a Tantric Yogi, a holy person, or a fakir, to protect the wearer from evil happenings. Later, the Rakhri took the form of the present colorful banglelike thread with flowers and other decorations tied to it.



 
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