10-day Diwali Fest kicks off Tuesday in Vancouver (w/ gallery)

Published: October 28, 2013

Share e Punjab perform at Diwali Downtown in 2010. Submitted photo.

LARISSA CAHUTE
VANCOUVER DESI

It was ten years ago that a group of active South Asian community members went to the City of Vancouver to pitch a Diwali festival.

The small group believed the Indian holiday, which celebrates the victory of lightness over darkness, good over evil, prosperity over poverty, boasted a message that should be celebrated throughout the city.

“The message of Diwali is so universal, which is I think one of the appeals of the event itself …spreading light over darkness in the community,” said Mo Dhaliwal, past board member of Vancouver Celebrates Diwali.

The event was officially inaugurated in 2003 and Dhaliwal was a board member during its second year.

In the early 2000s it was a small-scale, volunteer-run and city supported initiative, consisting of a single day with a small show at Vancouver’s Roundhouse Community Centre, drawing a crowd of about 500 mainly South Asian people.

Today that same festival, now rebranded as Diwali Fest, kicks off Tuesday, marking its 10th anniversary in Vancouver.

According to current festival producer, Sean Devine, the line up boasts an “explosion of activity” from Oct. 29 to Nov. 8 — proving just how far the decade-old event has come.

“In its first year … (it was) one day, one event,” said Devine. “Now it’s more than 10 events over more than 10 days and we typically expect to draw an audience of about 5,000 people.”

“The audience is as wide and diverse a demographic as can be … it’s not just a sea of Indian faces.”

And that was the purpose of the festival from day one.

“It was never meant to be this ‘ethnic’ event,” said Dhaliwal. “It was very much meant to take the universal principles of Diwali and expose them to … the entire community of Vancouver.

“Our hope and dream was always to make Diwali not like some Indian or South Asian festival that happens in Vancouver, but to actually make Diwali Vancouver’s Festival of Lights.”

Related story:

North Delta resident, Paromita Naidu, was also a board member in the festival’s second year with the same vision, and today she feels nothing but pride when she joins in the festivities.

“It’s really exploded,” she said. “It’s crossed beyond community borders, it’s crossed religion and it’s crossed ethnicities.

“I’m really proud to know when I mention Diwali Fest to people … they recognize it and they know that a really cool arts celebration is on its way.”

It’s grown from an organizational viewpoint as well, becoming more professional with board members, a regular team of contractors, staff, sponsors and, of course, volunteers.

“It’s just interesting to see how this group has incorporated itself as its own entity, its own organization and is now thriving as Vancouver’s sort of preeminent Diwali festival,” said Dhaliwal.

And in honour of its 10th anniversary, the festival has gone even further — beyond Vancouver. For the first time, Diwali Fest will also hit the City of Surrey.

“We’ve certainly drawn our audience from beyond Vancouver,” said Devine, adding that although separate Diwali events exist around the Lower Mainland, Diwali Fest is aiming to be the go-to holiday attraction. “Ours is delivering a festival at a certain level that is perhaps a little bit more elevated, a little bit more professional,” he said.

And in the coming years, organizers only expect that to continue, reaching beyond Surrey and into the TriCities, becoming “the Diwali-focused celebration for the Lower Mainland,” Devine said.

Diwali Fest begins Tuesday with its inaugural IndiGlam Fashion Social at Davie Street’s Scotiabank Dance Centre, followed by a number of community-centred activities, leading up to the premier event, Diwali Downtown, Nov. 2 at the Roundhouse Community Centre, with live performances, crafts, a bazaar, food and “a secret grand finale.” The 10-day festival closes with a more intimate event, Chai House, at the Surrey Arts Centre on 88th Ave., which will see performances by NaQsh IPB Punjabi rock band, Lapis, DJ A-Slam and Chin Injeti. For more information visit DiwaliFest.ca.



Picture 1 of 11

Vancouver Celebrates Diwali, 2010. Submitted photo.

EVENTS LISTING

Tues. Oct. 29: IndiGlam Fashion Social, $25, Scotiabank Dance Centre, 677 Davie St., Vancouver, 8 p.m.-11 p.m.
Check out the latest designs from Dolce & Gabana, Canali, Hugo Boss, Armana Collezioni, Surrey’s Rimpy Sahota, Bhana Designs, Satya Paul Sarees and India’s Ridhi Mehra. After party with DJ A-Slam.

Wed. Oct. 30: Diwali @ The Library, Free, Central Public Library, 350 W. Georgia St., Vancouver, 12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Lunchtime music and dance performance in the Downtown Atrium

Fri. Nov. 1: Diwali Workshop, Nominal fee, West End Community Centre, 870 Denman St., Vancouver, 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Professional artists and facilitators leading workshops in rangoli design, diya lamp painting, Bollywood dancing and mehndi hand painting.

Sat. Nov. 2: Diwali Workshop, Nominal fee, Renfrew Park Community Centre, 2929 East 22nd Ave., Vancouver., 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Professional artists and facilitators leading workshops in rangoli design, diya lamp painting, Bollywood dancing and mehndi hand painting.

Sat. Nov. 2: Diwali Downtown, $5 donation, Roundhouse Community Centre, 181 Roundhouse Mews, Vancouver, 3 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Contemporary and classical Indian culture for the entire family, more than fifteen different music and dance performances, an Indian bazaar featuring South Asian crafts and food, and a room-sized rangoli

Sun. Nov. 3: Diwali Workshop, Nominal fee, Trout Lake Community Centre, 3360 Victoria Dr., Vancouver, 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Professional artists and facilitators leading workshops in rangoli design, diya lamp painting, Bollywood dancing and mehndi hand painting.

Mon. Nov. 4: Diwali Workshop, Nominal fee, South Vancouver Neighborhood House, 6470 Victoria Dr., Vancouver, 12 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Professional artists and facilitators leading workshops in rangoli design, diya lamp painting, Bollywood dancing and mehndi hand painting.

Fri. Nov. 8: Diwali Workshop, Nominal fee, Thunderbird Community Centre, 2311 Cassiar St., Vancouver, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Professional artists and facilitators leading workshops in rangoli design, diya lamp painting, Bollywood dancing and mehndi hand painting.

Fri. Nov. 8: Chai House, $20, Surrey Arts Centre, 13750 88th Ave., Surrey, 8 p.m. – 11 p.m.
Intimate cabaret performance featuring Juno-award winning soul singer Chin Injeti.

lcahute@theprovince.com
twitter.com/larissacahute


Tags: , , , , , , , ,





Featured

Seniors-documentary-Parents

Stricken by her mom’s death, Sikh filmmaker learns ‘to keep moving forward’

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI When Vancouver filmmaker Baljit Sangra’s mother suddenly died after being struck by a car, Sangra was so devastated that she wanted…
Continue Reading »

Parliament hill

Dosanjh: We must criminalize glorification, encouragement of terrorism

UJJAL DOSANJH SPECIAL TO VANCOUVER DESI Canada is no stranger to terrorism. Nonetheless what has happened in the heart of our capital on the heels…
Continue Reading »

Royal Wedding

Aga Khan’s eldest son Prince Rahim and his wife Kendra Salwa Spears expecting their first child

VANCOUVER DESI The Aga Khan’s eldest son Prince Rahim and his wife Princess Salwa (Kendra Salwa Spears) are expecting their first child, the spiritual leader…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

Seniors-documentary-Parents

Stricken by her mom’s death, Sikh filmmaker learns ‘to keep moving forward’

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI When Vancouver filmmaker Baljit Sangra’s mother suddenly died after being struck by a car, Sangra was so devastated that she wanted…
Continue Reading »

CIVIC ELECTIONS

Surrey mayoral candidates share city visions at first meeting

AMY REID VANCOUVER DESI SURREY — Surrey mayoral candidates met for the city’s first all-candidates meeting Thursday night at SFU. Six of the seven candidates…
Continue Reading »

OTTAWA

Surrey MP Nina Grewal’s account of the shootout in Ottawa

NINA GREWAL SPECIAL TO IANS  When Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was speaking at about 9.30 a.m. Wednesday in a caucus room of parliament, we…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

student dead

Two dead, including gunman, in school shooting north of Seattle

DOUG ESSER THE ASSOCIATED PRESS MARYSVILLE, Wash. — A student opened fire in a high school cafeteria north of Seattle on Friday, killing at least…
Continue Reading »

attack on Parliament Hill

Ottawa shooter kicked out of Burnaby mosque two years ago

Zehaf-Bibeau was asked to leave the mosque, because he had “gotten a hold of keys and stuff from the mosque, and when he got out…
Continue Reading »

labour laws violation

U.S. company penalized for mistreatment of Indian employees working 122 hours in a week

MICHAEL LIEDTKE THE ASSOCIATED PRESS SAN FRANCISCO – A Silicon Valley company is paying more than $43,000 in back wages and penalties after labour regulators…
Continue Reading »

DESI-SOCCER

Surrey soccer captain played the U-18 national club championship using only one foot

KYLE BENNING SURREY NOW SOUTH SURREY – Kyle Sohi’s perseverance and performance in the 2014 Sport Chek National Club Championships U-18 Cup Final might go…
Continue Reading »

SURREY-FIELD HOCKEY

Barinder Rasode announces plan to develop field hockey pitch in Surrey

Third field at Tamanawis Park would cost approximately $3 million KYLE BENNING SURREY NOW NEWTON – Barinder Rasode and the One Surrey team were at…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Stan Lee-Bollywood

Stan Lee plans Bollywood film on his first Indian superhero

VANCOUVER DESI Stan Lee, the legendary ‘Spiderman’ creator, is reportedly planning his Bollywood entry with a film on his Indian superhero character ‘Chakra: the Invincible’….
Continue Reading »

KANGANA RANAUT

Even my parents think I am weird, says Bollywood ‘Queen’ Kangana Ranaut

HINDUSTAN TIMES Kangana Ranaut has always made unconventional choices, be it her movies or the way she dresses. And the actor says she’s happy the…
Continue Reading »

Happy New Year-Bollywood

Happy New Year: Mandatory ‘formula’ and all those old Bollywood references

HINDUSTAN TIMES Film: Happy New Year Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, Abhishek Bachchan, Boman Irani, Sonu Sood, Vivaan Shah, Jackie Shroff Director: Farah Khan…
Continue Reading »