British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday extended greetings to people celebrating Diwali and Bandi Chhor Divas.

“Happy Diwali and Bandi Chhor Divas to everyone celebrating here in the UK and around the world,” Johnson tweeted.

“Namaste, it’s Boris Johnson here, sending my best wishes to everyone celebrating this year’s Festival of Lights, and after the tough times we’ve all had, I hope that this Diwali, and Bandi Chhor Divas for our Sikh friends, are truly special,” UK PM said in a video message.

Happy Diwali and Bandi Chhor Divas to everyone celebrating here in the UK and around the world!
#Diwali pic.twitter.com/iJATgyxQII

— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) November 4, 2021

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also extended greetings to people celebrating the Bandi Chhor Divas.

“As Sikhs across the country and around the world mark Bandi Chhor Divas, we’re reminded of the importance of freedom, inclusion, and respect. To everyone celebrating this important day, Sophie and I are sending you our warmest wishes,” he tweeted.

As Sikhs across the country and around the world mark Bandi Chhor Divas, we’re reminded of the importance of freedom, inclusion, and respect. To everyone celebrating this important day, Sophie and I are sending you our warmest wishes. https://t.co/xoCNwGBi9J

— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) November 4, 2021

What is Bandi Chhor Divas?

Bandi Chhor Divas is a Sikh celebration that commemorates the day the sixth Guru of Sikhs, Guru Hargobind was released from Gwalior Fort.

In the 16th century, Guru Hargobind sahib was held captive in Gwalior Fort by Emperor Jahangir. It is believed that he was still a child when he was jailed on the pretext that a fine imposed on Guru Arjan had not been paid by the Sikhs and Guru Hargobind. While differing accounts exist, Persian records, such as Dabistan-i-Mazahib suggest he was kept in jail for twelve years, while others say that he was released at the age of 16.

The day of his release, alongside 52 Hindu kings and princes who he would lead to safety, is celebrated by Sikhs across the world as Bandi Chhor Divas. After his release, it is said that Guru Hargobind directly reached the Golden Temple and the holy city was illuminated as people lit diyas to celebrate the occasion. It is often marked with fireworks, lights and events such as kirtan singing and a continuous reading of the Guru Granth Sahib.

Thee festival, which coincides with Diwali, was celebrated across Punjab today. Devotees visited the Golden Temple and took a holy dip in the ‘Sarovar’ and offered prayers.

Check out the pics below:

This content was originally published here.