Dancers celebrate Diwali at the B.C. Legislature Wednesday. (Keri Coles/News staff)

Diwali Festival celebrated in B.C. Legislature for 1st time

‘Festival of lights’ celebrates triumph of light over dark, good over evil

Diwali – the multi-faith “festival of lights” – was honoured at the B.C. Legislature for the first time ever Wednesday with community leaders, dancers and the lighting of a ceremonial candle by Premier John Horgan.

“What better time to celebrate hope over sadness, love and acceptance over fear and intolerance,” said Horgan. “Whether you are Sikh, Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, we are with you today celebrating Diwali. Celebrating hope, joining with family, joining with friends and looking at all that we can do when we come together as a community.”

The festival, that originated in India and celebrates the triumph of light over dark and good over evil, is a period where families light traditional earthen candles called diyas and decorate their houses with colourful rangoli – artworks made by creating patterns on the floor using coloured rice or powder.

“It is one of the biggest festivals in India, similar to how Christmas is such a big celebration in Canada,” said Dez Daljit Mahal, vice-president of India Canada Cultural Association of Victoria.

Families share Indian sweets and gifts, and give food, money and goods to those in need during the five-day celebration. Candles and fireworks are a significant part of the festival throughout. It is also traditional for people to clean their homes in honour of the new season.

Diwali is celebrated around the world by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains, making it an important date in multiple religious calendars but for different reasons.

The Hindu festival of Diwali is based on the texts and scriptures of Hinduism, marking a great battle in which Ram killed the demon king Ravan and recovered his wife. Ram’s return with his wife Sita to Ayodhya and his subsequent coronation as king is celebrated as Diwali.

Sikh holiday, Bandi Chhorh Divas, coincides with the day of Diwali, and marks the day that Guru Hargobind Ji, the Sixth Sikh Guru, was freed from imprisonment. He arrived at Amritsar on Diwali day and the Golden Temple was lit with hundreds of lamps to celebrate his return.

For Jainism, it marks the spiritual awakening of Lord Mahavira.

All celebrate with light, family, food, and gifts.

“Here in B.C., friends and families are coming together to celebrate in an exchange of love and happiness. Although this holiday is celebrated by many different people in many different ways, the universal theme always prevails: that light will triumph over darkness,” said B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver.

The public is invited to celebrate Diwali at an inclusive Diwali Dinner and Dance, hosted by the India Canada Cultural Association of Victoria, at the Saanich Fairgrounds on Nov. 17.

“Our vision is to connect and welcome everyone,” said organizer Dez Daljit Mahal. “We welcome all cultures to come out and celebrate with us.”

The event will be catered by Royal Spice and will include dance performances. Tickets are $30 each or $200 for a table of 8. For more information contact Mahal at 250-858-5331.


 

keri.coles@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Diwali

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Premier John Horgan lights a ceremonial diya at the B.C. Legislature Wednesday. (Keri Coles/News staff)

The lighting of a ceremonial diya at the B.C. Legislature Wednesday. (Keri Coles/News staff)

Dez Daljit Mahal, vice-president of India Canada Cultural Association of Victoria, lights a ceremonial diya at the B.C. Legislature Wednesday. (Keri Coles/News staff)

11-year-old Haimavathy Saibish dances at the Diwali festival at B.C. Legislature Wednesday. (Keri Coles/News staff)

Gordy Dodd and Premier John Horgan shake hands at the Diwali ceremony at the B.C. Legislature Wednesday. (Keri Coles/News staff)

Chief Constable Del Manak (left), Minister of Agriculture Lana Popham, Minister of Citizens’ Services Jinny Sims, Minister of Education Rob Fleming celebrate Diwali at the B.C. Legislature Wednesday. (Keri Coles/News staff)

Lighting the ceremonial diya at the Diwali ceremony at B.C. Legislature Wednesday. (Keri Coles/News staff)

Just Posted

RCMP, firefighters rally in support for health care workers in Kelowna

Pandosy Street was packed with supporters Saturday night

Kelowna RCMP plan mini parade past KGH to recognize health care workers

Kelowna officers will flash lights and sounds both Saturday and Sunday night

Perry and Stanley awarded top UBC Okanagan rookies

The volleyball star and soccer star won the prize over Heat’s virtual awards banquet

Interior Health officials outline pandemic response in virtual town hall

Kelowna-Lake County MLA Norm Letnick moderates digital discussion, Q&A with Interior Health leadership

Second Vernon-area high school exposed to COVID-19

Kalamalka Secondary School staff, students urged to self-isolate if showing symptoms

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

No hesitation; two bystanders assist in South Okanagan house fire rescue

“I’d do it for anybody,” says Penticton man after assisting in house fire rescue

WATCH: Okanagan producer treats neighbours to live music from safe distance

Neighbours practiced social distancing as Jeff Johnson played songs from his front steps

Sewers stitch masks to free up supplies for front-line health-care workers

“We have little old ladies sewing up a storm,” said Joan Davis

Experts weigh in on best handling of groceries during COVID-19 pandemic

Study suggests the virus can live for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to three days on plastic

COVID-19 world update: Enforceable quarantine in NYC?; France orders 1 billion masks

Spain warns EU’s future at stake; New York governor calls Trump’s idea ‘federal declaration of war

Earth Hour 2020 kicks off online Saturday night

Action moves online due to COVID-19

Okanagan woman baking for those in need amid COVID-19

Vernon’s Crystal Hedlund launched a GoFundMe page to generate funds for baking materials

Okanagan distillery hands out thousands of sanitizer bottles, needs help in COVID-19 fight

Okanagan Springs is donating hand sanitizer to help fill COVID-induced shortages

Most Read