Three attendees at SFU’s 2019 Diwali Gala, held Thursday (Oct. 17) at Surrey’s Crown Palace Banquet Hall. (Photo: facebook.com/simonfraseruniversity)

Diwali in Surrey: ‘Festival of light’ celebrations at several halls, a library, other venues

This year Diwali is on Sunday, Oct. 27, but Surrey-area events are held over a two-week period

Surrey-area residents will this week celebrate Diwali at several events planned to mark the annual “festival of light” – and other gatherings have already taken place.

On Sunday (Oct. 27), a Grand Diwali Mela is planned at Surrey’s Lakshmi Narayan Temple, 8321 140th St., starting at 1 p.m. The gathering is hosted by Vedic Seniors Parivar Center of Vedic Hindu Cultural Society. There will be musical entertainment, a rangoli competition, mehndi stall, facepainting, dandiya-style dancing, rides for kids, a variety of food stalls and, at 7 p.m., a fireworks display.

Elsewhere in Surrey, Newton’s Taj Park Convention Centre is the place for a Diwali celebration hosted by South Fraser-area provincial MLAs, on Saturday (Oct. 26) at 8580 132nd St. Refreshments will be served from 1 to 3 p.m. “Enjoy a festive afternoon of delicious refreshments and quality company, as we mark this very special time of the year with all of you,” says an event advisory. Politicians pictured on the Facebook event post are MLAs Garry Begg, Jinny Sims, Harry Bains, Jagrup Brar, Rachna Singh, Ravi Kahlon and Bruce Ralston.

On Friday (Oct. 25) at Bombay Banquet Hall in Surrey, a Diwali Gala is hosted by The Times of Canada. “Our Diwali Gala is the biggest corporate Diwali celebration in the province of British Columbia,” an event advisory boasts. “Our guest list includes the who’s-who of the community and Lower Mainland’s business fraternity.” The event features live entertainment, music, a fashion show, awards presentations and a delicious traditional Indian buffet. This year, singer Malkit Singh will perform. The Trade and Business Expo is held on Oct. 22 at the Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel. For details, call 607-782-7624 or visit thetimesofcanada.com.

Also Friday night (Oct. 25), the Vancouver Canucks will host a Diwali Night celebration during the hockey team’s home game against Washington Capitals at Rogers Arena, featuring music and performances by Surrey-area talents Jazzy B., DJ Heer and others.

• RELATED STORY: Canucks’ Diwali Night game gives Surrey’s Heer the thrill of DJ-ing for his favourite team.

The gym at KPU Surrey’s campus will come alive during a 2019 Diwali celebration on Saturday, Nov. 2, from 2 to 8 p.m. This year’s event will feature a bhangra performance, rangoli, henna art, Indian food, music and dance. Tickets range from $15-20 online at kpu.ca/diwali (no ticket sales at the door).

Other Surrey-area events include ICA Vancouver’s Diwali celebration (Oct. 26 at Taj Park), a Diwali Fest 6 event Nov. 1 at Royal King Palace), a Diwali Dance Youth Workshop at Surrey Libraries’ City Centre branch on Oct. 24, and BMO’s Diwali 2019 gathering on Nov. 2 at Aria Banquet & Convention Centre.

CLICK HERE for event details.

Last week, DreamZZ Media Group hosted a Diwali gala at Bombay Banquet Hall on Oct. 19, and SFU’s 12th annual Diwali Gala was held at Surrey’s Crown Palace Banquet Hall on Oct. 17, in a fundraiser for efforts to send local university students to work, study and volunteer in India, through the university’s mobility initiative.

WHAT IS DIWALI?

Diwali (“the Festival of Lights”) usually falls in either October or November, as its date is based on the Hindu lunar calendar. In 2019, Diwali is on Sunday, Oct. 27.

Diwali is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists. It celebrates victory of good over evil and light over darkness.

Diyas – small shallow receptacles made of clay that hold purified butter – are lit to ward off evil and to usher in goodness with light.

Followers of each religion go to their respective place of worship to pray and light the diyas on this holy night. Lit diyas are laid in a row around the perimeter of one’s home as well as in front of the altar.

For Sikhs, Diwali celebrates the release from prison of the sixth guru, Guru Hargobind Ji, and 52 other princes with him, in 1619. The Sikh tradition holds that Mogul Emperor Jahangir agreed to release Guru Hargobind Ji but said only those princes who could hold onto his cloak tail would be allowed to leave the prison as well.

In response, Guru Hargobind Ji had a cloak made with 52 pieces of string so each prince was able to hold onto one string and leave prison. Followers lit diyas to celebrate their guru’s homecoming.

Hindus follow the legend of Lord Rama and his wife Sita’s return home after 14 years in exile and also of Lord Rama’s epic battle with the demon King Rawan, whom he kills.

The people of Ayodha, home of Lord Rama, were so excited to hear that their beloved future king was coming home that they lit the way for him and his wife Sita with diyas.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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