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

Published: November 7, 2012

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

Violent Vancouver muggings

Violent street mugging in Burnaby brings light sentences to two of the perpetrators

A third suspect who has never been arrested held knife to victim’s throat KEITH FRASER VANCOUVER DESI A man convicted in a violent street mugging…
Continue Reading »

security-CBSA-Transit Police-death

Migrant group asks Transit Police not to share info with CBSA

THE CANADIAN PRESS A B.C. group is calling on Transit police to stop sharing all information about migrants with the Canada Border Services Agency. Transit…
Continue Reading »

TK

IHIT takes case after body found in SUV in Surrey City Centre area

VANCOUVER DESI The RCMP’s Integrated Homicide Investigation Team is at the scene where a deceased male was discovered in Surrey’s City Centre area Friday morning….
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

Canadian gets seven years in Nepal jail for child molestation: report

THE CANADIAN PRESS A media report says a Canadian man has been sentenced to seven years in jail in Nepal for molesting a nine-year-old boy…
Continue Reading »

Canadian universities attracting kids, especially girls, to sciences

@ By Liam Casey THE CANADIAN PRESS TORONTO — Groups of students huddle around desks at a university campus as the instructor gives out a…
Continue Reading »

Canadian universities attracting kids, especially girls, to sciences

@ By Liam Casey THE CANADIAN PRESS TORONTO — Groups of students huddle around desks at a university campus as the instructor gives out a…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

Hands Against Racism

Hands Against Racism: Send us a selfie and make a statement against racism (with video)

VANCOUVER DESI Vancouver Desi’s digital anti-racism campaign, Raise Your Hands Against Racism, officially kicked off Thursday, with people across the Lower Mainland sending in selfies…
Continue Reading »

triplets

U.S. mom with 2 kids celebrates one-month birthdays of rare identical triplet boys (with photos)

COREY WILLIAMS THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ST. CLAIR SHORES, Mich. – A suburban Detroit couple who have two older children are adjusting to life after becoming…
Continue Reading »

File photo: An Indian Muslim bride, her hands decorated with henna, attends a mass wedding organized by a social service organization in Mumbai, India, Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015. AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool

Groom dumped by bride-to-be for a wedding guest accuses her of drugging him before ceremony

VANCOUVER DESI A 25-year-old Indian groom who was dumped by his bride-to-be for a wedding guest after he suffered an alleged seizure has accused his…
Continue Reading »

bikram

Vancouver woman sues hot yoga guru Bikram Choudhury for sexual assault

SUSAN LAZARUK VANCOUVER DESI A Vancouver woman is claiming the leader of one of B.C.’s largest yoga chains repeatedly sexually assaulted and coerced her over…
Continue Reading »

murder plot-Pakistan-love triangle

U.S. man convicted of setting up fatal shooting of Pakistani wife while walking with young son

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS MORRISTOWN, N.J. — A man was convicted Thursday of setting up the fatal shooting of his Pakistan-born wife while the couple was…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Katrina Kaif -bikini blouse

Gallery: Bollywood babes pair hot bikini blouses with sarees

VANCOUVER DESI When it comes to sinful fashion mingled with grace, elegance and beauty, no one can beat Bollywood actresses and their style sense. Check…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood film review

Dum Laga Ke Haisha: So real and heart-warming, it smells like life

SUBHASH K. JHA IANS  Film: “Dum Laga Ke Haisha”; Cast: Ayushmann Khurrana, Bhumi Pedneker; Written and Directed by Sharat Katariya; Rating: ****(4 stars) It’s very…
Continue Reading »

Katti Batti

Bollywood actors Kangana Ranaut and Imran Khan are having fun on the sets of Katti Batti

IANS Mumbai – Actor Imran Khan is having a “positive experience” filming “Katti Batti”, thanks to his “wonderful co-star” Kangana Ranaut and “great director” Nikhil…
Continue Reading »