Travel Blog

16 Oct

Vancouver Celebrates Diwali October 15-23

Image: Vancouver Celebrates Diwali

I’m a sucker for a happy ending and that’s why I’m excited about Diwali, an important five-day festival in Hinduism, Sikhism, and Jainism, which proclaims the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance. The biggest Diwali festival in town is the 8th annual Vancouver Celebrates Diwali with events running Oct. 15-23.

Diwali, meaning “row of lighted lamps” is celebrated throughout South Asia on a grand scale with music, dancing, feasting and crafts. Looked upon as the beginning of the New Year, people give expression to their happiness by lighting diyas (clay lamps), displaying rangoli (colorful floor mosaics) and setting off firecrackers to show their renewed spirit. Vancouver has a burgeoning South Asian community, much of it in Little India (sometimes referred to as the Punjabi Market), which is located along three blocks near Main and 49th.

Vancouver Celebrates Diwali’s slogan is “Light your spirit” and as of 2010, the community-based festival was on fire with 7,500 participants from diverse backgrounds. The main festival events kick off Sunday, Oct. 16, with Dance Diwali Style from 2:00 to 3:00 pm at Yaletown’s Roundhouse.

Image: Vancouver Celebrates Diwali

There are two other events that stand out in the Vancouver Celebrates Diwali line up. The first is Chai House on Main Street, Tuesday, Oct. 18, at Heritage Hall. This laid-back cabaret event (Admission $10) showcases contemporary South Asian culture with an eclectic mash up of modern music and dance, like bhangra glitch-hop group Banyen Roots and the headliner: Grammy-award-winning Canadian phenomenon Chin Injeti.

Finally, if you must pick just one Vancouver Celebrates Diwali event, go for the Diwali Downtown cultural extravaganza, Sunday, Oct. 23 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm at Roundhouse Community Centre. You’ll be positively overwhelmed with live music, dancing, interactive performances and plenty of quality eats. Although there’s a good sampling of samosas, dosas and tandoori, the homemade, rainbow of sweets are the legendary festival draw. The array is endless, but the ingredients—almonds, pistachios, carrots, coconut, milk and sugar–are similar. It’s hard to go wrong, and easy to get full.

Vancouver Celebrates Diwali (Oct. 15-23) operates under the registered non-profit Diwali Celebration Society. While Chai House on Main Street is ticketed, admission to Roundhouse events is by donation.

Are you celebrating Diwali this year? If so, tell me which event is your favorite.



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