Diwali celebrations come to Kitchener
Diwali, or the festival of lights, will be celebrated in households across the world this Sunday October 30. The celebrations will last for five days and marks an important part of the Hindu religion.
However, over time the celebrations have been adopted by many Indians, regardless of their religious beliefs.
According to National Geographic, Diwali signifies the victory of good over evil. Originating as a harvest festival, the celebrations now consist of family gatherings and displays of lights.
It is celebrated with the lighting of lanterns and fireworks. Families also cook lavish feasts and use it as an opportunity to visit one another.
On October 22, the Victoria Hills Community Centre hosted their second annual Diwali celebration.
The event was open to all members of the community and met its intended capacity of 300 attendees. Among the attendees was mayor of Kitchener, Berry Vrbanovic.
Rangoli, an art display that is common in India during Diwali celebrations, was featured in the community centre as a part of the
celebration. The display features an array of different colours with dyed rice and colourful lentils.
“The most important thing, there was a firework display. When we did it for the very first time, then it was not allowed in Kitchener to have fireworks for Diwali. So a team of youngsters went to city council where they asked for permission and they were granted permission,” said vice-president of the Victoria Hill Community Centre, Nadia Muhammad.
“For our event, we had to follow special permissions because this was happening earlier than the actual day. It was for the first time in our neighbourhood that we had this kind of fireworks.”
The community centre focuses on multiculturalism and encouraged everyone to attend.
“It was to promote multiculturalism also and to showcase how different communities celebrate their events,” said Muhammad.
The event was free, excluding the tickets used to buy food or drinks.
“It is really very important because if they have something in their neighbourhood, our community is a mixed population. We were trying to keep it as low-cost. Basically it was free, but even for the food, we tried to keep it minimum so that everyone could attend,” said Muhammad.
The neighbourhood association also organizes events for other community groups, having celebrated Eid for the second time this past September and Christmas for more than 30 years.
“It is still open to any community who wants to celebrate it or our neighbourhood to bring it close to each other. We support all community groups in any way we can. It is a very open environment,” said Muhammad.
Muhammad shared her thanks to the community group that organized the event and to the city for supporting their initiatives.
“It was a very well organized event. The community group who organized it, they were pretty good at it,” said Muhammad.
“It was well attended and it was better than the first year. More people attended and we are really happy about that.”