Vancouverites gather together to celebrate Diwali in Yaletown

With lots of energy and excitement at the Yaletown Roundhouse, Vancouverites celebrate the festival of lights. Angela Bower speaks to Asmita Lawrence about the importance of celebrating Diwali in Canada with her family.

By Angela Bower, David Nadalini, Emily Marsten

Locals across the city came together in downtown Vancouver to celebrate one of the largest Diwali-themed events in the Lower Mainland.

On Sunday, dozens gathered at the Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre to join in the festivities.

The Yaletown centre was filled with vibrant energy, as families and friends came out to celebrate the popular south-Asian festival.

“Diwali is a festival of lights. It is one of the biggest festivals celebrated in India and abroad, all over the world now, it celebrates the defeat of evil and the triumph of good,” explained Asmita Lawrence, a local who attended the festival.

handmade drawing of light

Dozens gathered to celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights. Oct. 23, 2022, (CityNews)

Visitors were able to create colorful Rangolis, paint clay lamps, and get a festive Henna design — a popular form of body art that creates a temporary tattoo.

Lawrence says that the festival is an important cultural celebration that helps teach her children about their roots.

“Our children are growing up here Canada and we are so fortunate that we live in a multicultural society,” she said.

But with this in mind, Lawrence also notes her kids, “are straddling two or more cultures, they are learning about their home, those are their roots.”

tray filled with sweet treats

An assortment of sweets from an Indian food shop are displayed in New York on Oct. 19, 2022. These sweets are typically enjoyed on Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. (Katie Workman via AP)

She explains that by learning more about their culture it “gives them self confidence.”

Sunday’s event included traditional Bollywood dance performances, where two dancers told CityNews they performed “for the love of dance,” adding that some of the best parts of the festival are the people, happiness, and the lights.

Lawrence says that the festival is traditionally celebrated with fireworks, and “of course lots of Indian sweets.”

Although it is a traditional Hindu festival, Lawrence adds that Diwali is for everyone.

“Diwali is just a festival to celebrate with your family and friends, to come together and express your love and share and celebrate happiness,” she explained.

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