The Festival of Diwali: Here’s how people around the Lower Mainland are celebrating

Sahil Morar / November 8, 2018

A sea of Diyas symbolizing the return of Prince Rama.
(Pixabay)

One of India’s most celebrated holidays, Diwali, is well underway across the world. In celebration, Indians all over the globe adorn their houses in Diyas, a clay oil lamp, along with decorative designs made of out flowers and coloured powder.

According to DiwaliFest Vancouver, Diwali or Deepavali is one of India’s most celebrated holidays. Both residential and non-residential Indians (NRI’s) participate in it’s festivities. Diwali is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, and Buddhists alike, with each religion having different traditions.

For NRI’s like Priyanka Patel, she says celebrating Diwali allows her to remember her roots even though she lives in a predominantly Western society.

“When we live in a country that’s really multi-cultural, with a big focus on education and diversity, we should make our best efforts to keep the parts of our roots alive. I think Diwali has an overall meaning but also a very individual meaning to to each person celebrating ” – Priyanka Patel, Gujarati Society of British Columbia

For many, this time of year brings about new jewelry and clothing to commemorate the celebration. Bhatia Fashions owner, Harinder Bhatia, says this season is all about family.

“For my store, we usually bring in mitthai (traditional indian sweets) for all of our customers. Though this is actually a slow day for us, this week has been pretty busy with everyone buying new clothes for all the festivities going on this weekend. We try to make this store feel like home and greet everyone throughout the week with a happy Diwali” – Harinder Bhatia, Owner of Bhatia Fashions

People shopping for Indian clothes.
(Pixabay)

Schools across the Lower Mainland also celebrated Diwali in their classrooms. Barkha Farswani, a Grade 6 teacher at Gladstone Park Elementary School in Surrey felt that educating students about the holiday was important to her.

A classroom in Surrey learning about the meaning of Diwali and designing their own Diyas.
(Barkha Farswani / Surrey School Teacher)

“The school itself has a pretty big Indian population that celebrates Diwali, so from those who do and even those who don’t celebrate it, they are really enjoy doing activities and crafts related to it. ” – Barkha Farswani, Surrey School Teacher

Dhanteras

Dhanteras marks the first day of Diwali, and is the “Day of Wealth and Propersity.” This is the day most people buy their gold, silver, and jewels as all well as new clothes for the festival.

(Source: http://mocomi.com/5-days-of-diwali/)

Choti Diwali/Kali Choudas

This is the day before Diwali, similar to Christmas Eve, Choti Diwali is the eve of Diwali and is meant for rest and relaxation.

(Source: http://mocomi.com/5-days-of-diwali/)

Diwali

The apex of the festival. People decorate their houses with Diyas and other ornaments. Places of worship often hold large gatherings to commemorate the bravery of Prince Rama and Sita.

(Source: http://mocomi.com/5-days-of-diwali/)

Govardhan/ Annakut

The fourth day brings about the worship of instruments, arms and machinery. In the northern state of Gujarat, this day is regarded as the start of the new calendar year.

(Source: http://mocomi.com/5-days-of-diwali/)

Bhai Beej/Bhai Doojh

The fifth and final day of Diwali brings about the celebration of sibling love. On this day, sisters typically prepare traditional sweets in honour of their brothers to wish them a long, happy, and prosperous life.

(Source: http://mocomi.com/5-days-of-diwali/)