Diwali, the Festival of Lights, continues to shine bright as a time of celebration, unity, and the age-old victory of good over evil. Despite all tensions, the radiant glow of this grand festival remains undiminished. This year, Indo-Canadian parliamentarian Chandrasekhar Arya took the reins, organizing a magnificent Diwali celebration on Parliament Hill, highlighting the enduring spirit of this joyous occasion.
Bearing the sacred symbol “Aum” gracing the flag, Indians hailing from various Canadian cities, including Ottawa, the Greater Toronto Area, and Montreal, commence the festivities. In this symbolic act, Diwali transcends borders, forging connections that go beyond cultural divides and affirming the shared heritage that unites communities in the luminous embrace of the Festival of Lights.
As November 12th draws near, let’s embark on a journey to discover how Canadians celebrate Diwali, an occasion that goes beyond cultural boundaries and unites communities.
The Essence of Diwali in Canada
Diwali, often called Deepavali, is not merely a Hindu festival. This luminous festival illuminates the path of rituals and customs, where light removes darkness and goodness conquers evil. For those who follow the Hindu Lunar calendar, Diwali also starts at the dawn of a new year.
In Canada, Diwali becomes a radiant brushstroke, painting the canvas of diversity with enthusiasm and inclusivity. Canadians, irrespective of their roots, unite in the spirit of this vibrant celebration, creating a harmonious melody.
Diwali Delights in Canada
Sweets Galore in Scarborough
No Diwali celebration is complete without a visit to the confectioner’s shop, brimming with an array of joyous treats. In Canada, this tradition is cherished as much as anywhere else. As Diwali approaches, Canadians flock to these shops, adorned with vibrant culinary delights. From delectable mithai to mouthwatering snacks, there’s something for everyone.
Grand Diwali Dinner in Toronto
If you find yourself celebrating Diwali in Canada, don’t miss the grand Diwali dinner at the Voice of Dharma Temple in Toronto, the capital of Canada. This occasion is not just about cuisines; it’s a vibrant atmosphere with live music from the Sur Sangeet Orchestra and dances choreographed by the Footsteps Dance School. It becomes a celebration that resonates with the heartbeats of shared experiences, and friendships that transcend cultural boundaries.
Pooja at Sanatan Mandir
Sanatan Mandir, a Gujarati temple, opens its doors to everyone in Canada. This temple provides a tranquil space for contemplation, inviting people of all backgrounds to participate in the Diwali Pooja, a custom that begins on Diwali night.
Diwaloween – A Unique Blend of Celebrations
Diwali in Canada is not just about traditional customs; it’s a fusion of cultures and celebrations. People in Canada, while celebrating Diwali, also add their unique twist to the festivities. Cruise parties in traditional Punjabi style, with glitzy Indian costumes, are a popular choice. The Bollywood Diwali Night offers a blend of dance, bhangra, games, and a lavish buffet, creating a vibrant and joyful atmosphere. What’s more, Bollywood Social Toronto and Desi Beatz event companies team up to create a “Diwaloween” party that combines the dazzling charm of Bollywood with the spooky allure of Halloween.
Diwali Celebrations in Canada – Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal
Diwali is not confined to private gatherings in Canada. Community organizations, universities, cultural groups, and temples take an active role in organizing Diwali events. Furthermore, many municipalities actively participate in Diwali festivities, hosting public celebrations that include traditional Indian food fairs, music, dancing, marketplaces, and fireworks.
Looking on the journey to join public celebrations? Let’s delve into the heartbeat of some of the most significant Diwali celebrations in Canada—an annual adventure that I eagerly partake in.
Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA): A Feast of Lights
The GTA hosts the grand Diwali Festival of Lights, an annual event organized by the Global Arts, Culture, and Heritage Foundation. It’s renowned as the biggest Diwali celebration in North America. Held at Nathan Phillips Square on the 4th and 5th of November from 12 PM to 9 PM, this festival is a visual delight. The event boasts fireworks, enthralling music and dance performances, and a sprawling marketplace with over 100 local vendors. The best part? It’s free to attend.
For a family-friendly celebration, consider attending Diwali Dhamaka 2023, hosted by Dream Media Agency and Cocktail International Group Inc. Taking place at the Capitol Banquet Centre in Mississauga on the 5th and 11th of November from 12 PM to 9 PM, this event features activities for everyone. From face painting and dancing to henna artistry and Diwali markets, there’s something for all ages. Attendees can also participate in exciting contests, including awards for the best-dressed and raffle opportunities.
North York Diwali Fest—Festival of Lights
The North York Diwali Fest, organized by the Moksha Canada Foundation, is a delightful event that takes place at Mel Lastman Square on November 11th from 11 AM to 9 PM. In addition to delicious food and music performances, this festival offers Diwali shopping fairs and arts and crafts workshops, where you can create your decorations. Don’t forget to take part in the rangoli competition.
Diwali Celebrations in Vancouver — British Columbia’s Gem
Vancouver, with one of the largest Indian populations in Canada, is a Diwali hotspot. Amidst the myriad Diwali celebrations in the city, one shines particularly bright — Diwali Fest, an annual fest organized by the Diwali Celebration Society. This year marks a milestone, the 20th anniversary, with a unique “wedding theme” weaving its way throughout Diwali celebrations in Canada. Some Diwali events also include Diwali in Coquitlam, Diwali Downtown Surrey, and a virtual event called Diwali Storytime
But what truly sets Vancouver apart are the annual Diwali boat celebrations, thanks to its coastal location. These gatherings are organized by Vancouver Boat Parties and include events like the Diwali Fusion Bollywood Boat Party Vancouver (for the 19+ crowd) and the Diwali Boat Festival Vancouver.
Celebrations of Diversity in Montreal
While Montreal may have a smaller Indian population compared to Vancouver and Toronto, it still celebrates Diwali with warmth and enthusiasm. One unique event to look out for is the Candle Making Workshop hosted by the Pierrefonds Public Library. This workshop offers insights into the art of making diyas, shedding light on their religious and cultural significance during Diwali. The event is free to attend and takes place on Friday, November 10th, from 4:30 PM to 6 PM.
Diwali in Canada: A Festival of Unity
As Diwali approaches, Canada illuminates with the spirit of unity, love, and cultural diversity. It’s not just a festival for the Indian community; it’s a celebration for all Canadians. The significance of Diwali goes beyond the rituals; it embodies the values of light, hope, and togetherness.
As the festivities approach, let’s embrace the unity embedded in Diwali. From Mississauga to Toronto, Vancouver to Montreal, and every nook of Canada, let the radiant spirit of Diwali brighten the atmosphere. Canadians, regardless of their backgrounds, come together to relish the landscape of Indian traditions and bask in the joy of the Festival of Lights. This year, make Diwali a celebration like never before, allowing its luminous glow to create a masterpiece of togetherness across Canada