The night of Diwali is one of the most popular events in our calendar. The event attracts thousands of visitors from different backgrounds and cultures, coming together to celebrate the festival of lights. Diwali is an event traditionally celebrated by Hindus but for Sikhs, the significance of it is very little. We use this night to celebrate Bandhi-Chhor Divas ("Day of Liberation"). It was on this day that Sri Guru Hargobind Sahib Jee, who was the sixth Guru of the Sikhs, was released from prison after 12 years having been imprisoned by the then emperor Jahangir. The Emporer had felt that the continuing growth of the Sikh movement under Sri Guru Hargobind was rapidly growing and felt threatened. However, the growth and strength of Sikhs had intensified further with the Guru being imprisoned and eventually, Jahangir bowed down to the pressure and agreed to release Him. The Guru only agreed to be released if 52 other Rajas (Kings) who were also injustly imprisoned were freed. Jahangir agreed to release any Raja who could hold onto the Guru as he left the Gwalior prison. The Guru had a special cloak with 52 tassels made for him, one tassel each for the Rajas to hold onto, and they were all freed along with the Guru.
The day of Bandhi-Chhor does not actually fall on the same day as Diwali but it is said that it was around Diwali that the Guru, upon his release, travelled to Sri Harimandir Sahib where candles, divas were lit for the Diwali celebrations. As such, the Gurdwara Sahib celebrates this day by lighting lanterns and candles as well as having special Divaans and Langar all day.