DIWALI: Vancouver celebrates ‘the universal light that exists in everyone’

Saturday’s grand finale of Vancouver Celebrates Diwali is an international drum jam, featuring the group Sticks ’n’ Skins. Submitted photo

LARISSA CAHUTE
VANCOUVER DESI

Vancouver Celebrates Diwali is a seven-day-long “cultural extravaganza.”

The ninth annual festival kicked off Nov. 3 with workshops in community centres across the city and continues until its grand finale Nov. 10 with Diwali Downtown at Yaletown’s Roundhouse Community Centre.

The neighbourhood workshops consisted of Diwali programming like diya painting for children, sari wrapping demonstrations and henna painting.

“This is how we bring the spirit and traditions of Diwali out into the city and into neighbourhoods,” said festival producer Sean Devine.

The workshops are also a great way for the community to get involved in the celebrations if they can’t make it to the downtown event, said event co-chair, Ashley Avinashi. “There’s something in any of those workshops for everyone,” she said.

For more on Surrey’s Diwali celebrations, click here.

But for Avinashi, it all leads up to Diwali Downtown.

“I love the Saturday event,” she said.

In 2010, 5,000 people came out to the Roundhouse and they’re prepared for about the same this year.

The main event runs from 3 to 8 p.m. with  a number of performances from live music and dancing, to compilation artists — or “Diwali fusions” — a craft bazaar and a ton of food.

Devine suggests to watch out for musical group LAPIS, featuring classical Indian sitar player Mohamed Assani fused with local hip-hop artist Rup Sidhu as well as kathak flamenco performances: a fusion of classical Indian dance and flamenco, and of course tasty menu items from Vancouver’s famous Vij’s Railway Express.

“We just kind of turn it into a big massive Indian festival for that one day,” said Devine. “When coming to Diwali Downtown [our audience] gets to watch shows, they get to take part in interactive workshops and learn about Diwali, culture, dance workshops, buy and build crafts and eat some pretty fantastic food.”

Saturday’s grand finale is an international drum jam, featuring the group Sticks ’n’ Skins along with a lantern lighting procession, which coincides with themes of Illumination and Cultural Fusion and the slogan, “light your spirit.”

“Diwali is a holiday that celebrates the victory of light over darkness . . . good over evil, of prosperity over poverty,” said Devine. “Diwali celebrates the universal light that exists in everyone.

“We don’t just mean lighting things up, we also just mean illuminating our community and our audience about what Diwali stands for.”

“Focusing on cultural fusion” means the celebrations extend beyond the local South Asian community – it’s open for everyone.

“This has not only become a festival that showcases talent within the Southeast Asian community, but we’ve really been able to invite a lot of people from outside cultures to bring and showcase their talents,” said Avinashi. “It’s really fun to see just such a wide group of individuals from all walks of life come out to enjoy talent that once traditionally we thought only our own cultures were into.”

“It really just caters to a very broad audience.”

Devine believes the holiday serves as a positive lens for multiculturalism.

“We really do use this as a cultural lens for developing harmony, for community building and for just continuing to put out positive images and positive association with South Asian culture and the South Asian community in Vancouver since that itself is becoming more and more important,” he said. “They’ll see that South Asian culture and the holiday of Diwali is really becoming a prominent part of [the city].

“It represents the very, very eclectic nature that is Vancouver.”

Tags:





Featured

Selena Gomez

Gallery: Social media flooded with support for Malala’s We Are Silent campaign

VANCOUVER DESI People around the world took to social media on Thursday to join inspiring Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai’s efforts to promote education equality. Instagram…
Continue Reading »

Cranes wait near the buoys installed to mark the sunken ferry Sewol in the water off the southern coast near Jindo, South Korea, Friday, April 18, 2014. AP Photo/Lee Jin-man

South Korea ferry disaster: Guilt-ridden vice-principal rescued from sinking ship hangs himself

YOUKYUNG LEE AND FOSTER KLUG THE ASSOCIATED PRESS SEOUL — Police say a high school vice-principal who had been rescued from a sinking South Korean ferry…
Continue Reading »

Inspector Paulette Freill, left announces at BC RCMP Headquarters in Surrey Thursday April 17, 2014 a 35 year-old Dutch citizen was charged with several criminal offence in connection to the 2012 death of teen Amanda Todd. Amanda's parents Carol, center and Norman Todd, right attended the announcement. Ric Ernst / PNG

Charges laid against Dutch man in Amanda Todd online extortion case

ELAINE O’CONNOR and STEPHANIE IP VANCOUVER DESI Five charges — including harassment and Internet luring — have been laid against Aydin Coban, a Dutch national,…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

Inspector Paulette Freill, left announces at BC RCMP Headquarters in Surrey Thursday April 17, 2014 a 35 year-old Dutch citizen was charged with several criminal offence in connection to the 2012 death of teen Amanda Todd. Amanda's parents Carol, center and Norman Todd, right attended the announcement. Ric Ernst / PNG

Charges laid against Dutch man in Amanda Todd online extortion case

ELAINE O’CONNOR and STEPHANIE IP VANCOUVER DESI Five charges — including harassment and Internet luring — have been laid against Aydin Coban, a Dutch national,…
Continue Reading »

Amanda Todd

A timeline of the events before and after Amanda Todd’s suicide

A timeline of the events before and after Amanda Todd’s suicide: Late 2010 - Grade 7 student Amanda Todd was in a webcam chat room with…
Continue Reading »

Rajveer Chohan, 24, lives with her parents at their home in Vancouver, BC, where she is seen Thursday, April 10, 2014. Chohan has plenty of company these days as a great many young people are opting to live at home. Jason Payne/ PNG

My mom is my roommate: Why young adults are deciding to stay home with mom and dad

GORDON MCINTYRE VANCOUVER DESI Back when blogging was a novelty, the ultimate insult to throw at someone was to say the author was a loser…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

Indian Lovers Party

Gallery: Weird Indian political party names and symbols

VANCOUVER DESI In a country with over 800 million eligible voters, which symbol you vote for is very important. The largest political parties have simple…
Continue Reading »

worship-India

Six-year-old worshipped for patch of hair on his back that has grown into a tail

VANCOUVER DESI A six-year-old Indian boy is being worshipped by villagers for a small patch of hair on his back that has grown into a…
Continue Reading »

underage-sex-pregnancy-Britain

Opinion: Britain’s youngest mom — 12-year-old — isn’t a case for the midwife, it’s a case for the police

ALLISON PEARSON THE DAILY TELEGRAPH  A girl aged 12 years and three months became Britain’s youngest mother over the weekend. She was still at primary…
Continue Reading »

nude bath

PETA India urges health ministry to ban sale of animal-tested products

IANS New Delhi – Animal rights group PETA has urged India’s health ministry to ban the marketing and sale of animal-tested cosmetics and household products….
Continue Reading »

bites man's genitals

Court lets off woman charged for mishandling boss’ dogs, one bit a man’s genitals

IANS New Delhi – A Delhi court has let off a woman facing trial for being negligent with her employer’s dogs – one of whom…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

BOLLYWOOD MOVIE REVIEW

2 States: A magical north-south love story you wish wouldn’t end (w/trailer)

SUBHASH K. JHA IANS  Film: “2 States”; Cast: Arjun Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Ronit Roy, Amrita Singh, Revathi, Shiv Subramaniam; Directed by Abhishek Varman; Rating: ****…
Continue Reading »

India

KASHISH 2014 to screen foreign films on transgender issues in Mumbai (w/video)

IANS Mumbai – Films from Bangladesh, Britain, Spain and India, highlighting transgender issues, will be screened at the KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival, which…
Continue Reading »

Porn Queen-desi

2 States author listens to Sunny Leone’s Babydoll number to unwind

VANCOUVER DESI The author of  2 States – which has now been adapted into the Alia Bhatt and Arjun Kapoor film – has an interesting…
Continue Reading »