Celebrated across the world, Diwali is the biggest, brightest and most popular event in the Indian calendar.
And everyone is welcome to join the festivities. According to Diwali Fest, the main event organizer in Metro Vancouver, their mandate is to break cultural barriers and encourage participation from all communities.
The word diwali means “row of lighted lamps,” with light symbolizing the triumph of good over evil, prosperity over poverty and knowledge over ignorance.
It’s a time for lighting diyas (lamps), laying out colourful rangolis (beautiful patterns created on the ground), setting off fireworks, exchanging gifts of sweets and celebrating with dance, music and storytelling.
Here are some free and cheap events for you to celebrate Diwali this year.
Saturday, November 3 from 12:30 to 5:30 pm
The Vancouver Odia Association, with support from Neighbourhood Small Grants, is hosting a sparkly celebration for the whole community with music, dance, yummy food and colourful rangoli at the Burnaby Neighbourhood House Community Hall.
Saturday, October 20 from 2 to 4 pm
Come to the Maple Ridge Library to learn about the customs of Diwali, enjoy music and dance performances and taste delicious Indian food. Hosted by the library, Ridge Meadows South Asian Cultural Society, Family Education and Support Centre, Interfaith Building Bridges and ISSofBC.
Sunday, October 28 from 5 to 8 pm
Head over to Memorial Peace park for a free evening full of storytelling, pumpkins, crafts and food trucks, followed by the signature fireworks finale. The theme for this year’s event is “Light and Shadow,” which will include a celebration of Diwali with vibrant music and dancing.
Sunday, October 21 from 2 to 5 pm
Diwali Downtown brings together the best of contemporary and classical Indian culture for the entire family. This year’s event will include over fifteen unique music and dance performances, as well as an Indian-style bazaar (marketplace) featuring South Asian crafts and food.
Wednesday, October 24 from 6 to 7 pm
Enjoy the sights and sounds of Diwali at an exciting music and dance performance. This event will feature a colourful, fast-paced Bollywood and Indian classical fusion dance performance by Aashritha Royyuru and Niki Patel.
Saturday, October 27 from 3 to 7 pm
This free event will feature music and dance performances by local artists. The beloved Rangoli room will be back again – together attendees will create a room-sized mosaic artwork.
Saturday, November 3 from 12:30 to 3 pm
This free event will feature diya painting, henna, crafts and traditional Indian dancing. During the event there will be light refreshments, Chai tea and sweets. Pre-registration is required.
Saturday, November 3 from 2 to 4 pm
Bring family and friends to Wesbrook Community’s first Diwali Festival. There will be Indian dance and music, crafts and refreshments.
Sunday, November 4 from 12:30 to 2:30 pm
Listen to the story of Diwali and decorate diya clay lamps, eat traditional Indian food and sweets, and dance to traditional Indian music. For just $8, enjoy a delicious luncheon of seekh kebab, vegetarian samosas, lamb curry, butter chicken, aloo gobhi, mattar paneer, raita, rice, naan, salad, Chai tea and traditional dessert. Kids under 3 are free.
Sunday, November 4 from 4 to 6 pm
Celebrate Diwali at the Kitsilano Community Centre. Activities include Bollywood dancing, henna tattoos, diya painting, saree draping, Chai from Trudy Ann, refreshments from Jolly’s and All India Restaurant, as well as Panago Pizza. $10 registration includes activities and treats.
Monday, November 12 from 11 am to 1 pm
Check out this free family event at Sunset Community Centre, which includes dance, music, education, Diya making, crafts and more. A play gym (including a bouncy castle) and healthy snack concession will be available.
Saturday, November 3 from 6 to 8:30 pm
This widely-attended annual event is taking place in the University Centre Auditorium at the University of Victoria this year. This program consists of a variety of Indian Classical, Folk, Bollywood, South Indian dances, Bhangra, Hindi and Punjabi songs, as well as other musical entertainment. Renowned performers as well as several talented local artists will be participating in this event to showcase the rich cultural heritage to the community. Tickets are $20 for all ages (3 and above).