Canadians across the country joined millions of people around the world who celebrated Diwali on Sunday.
Diwali is a five-day festival of lights, commonly celebrated around the world by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and some Buddhists, taking place in October or November each year according to Panchangam, or the Hindu calendar. This year, Diwali is celebrated on November 12.
The history of the origin of Diwali varies depending on the region. All of these stories have an underlying theme: the victory of good over evil.
Sikhs also celebrate Bandi Chhor Divas, which commemorates the release of Guru Hargobind, a revered figure in the faith, who had been imprisoned for 12 years by the Mughal emperor Jahangir and coincides with Diwali.
During the five days of Diwali, people participate in festive gatherings, fireworks displays, parties and prayers.
In Ontario, however, celebrations in Brampton were muted due to a ban on fireworks in private spaces. The city council enacted the ban last year after hundreds of noise complaints. Those in Brampton who wanted to participate in pyrotechnics could only do so at a city-organized event at Sesquicentennial Park, which advertised “a dazzling 15-minute fireworks spectacle.”
In Manitoba, students at a Sikh school in Winnipeg celebrated the festival of lights with singing, dancing and prayers. The students had been rehearsing for the concert since September, said director Amandeep Sran. They also planned to light diyas, or oil candles, and fireworks were displayed at the end of the show.
In British Columbia, Diwali Fest celebrated its 20th year with performances, art workshops and henna hand designs at the Evergreen Cultural Center in Coquitlam. Organizers say another event will be held next weekend due to popular demand.
In Nova Scotia, chef Gurpreet Kaur, originally from northern India, eschewed her usual eggs and toast to introduce a Punjabi brunch menu at Selkie’s Neighborhood Diner in Sydney. Dishes include momos, paratha, omelette masala and a traditional pudding.
“As we celebrate Diwali, we also recognize the many contributions of Canadians from the Hindu, Jain, Sikh and Buddhist communities to the cultural fabric of our country, and celebrate their role in making Canada the diverse and inclusive place we call home,” said the Prime Minister. Justin Trudeau said in a statement on Sunday.
Trudeau, in a separate statement, also wished happy Bandi Chhor Divas to those celebrating, saying, “This holiday is a reminder that when we come together as a society, we can achieve a world that champions peace, freedom and community.”
Across the country and around the world, millions of people celebrate Diwali and the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil and hope over despair. To all who observe this joyful festival: Happy Diwali! https://t.co/LWYFK9xa5q
Happy Bandi Chhor Divas to Sikhs across the country and the world! I wish you and your loved ones the best today as you come together, illuminate your homes and gurdwaras, and share meals, sweets, and prayers. https://t.co/jg92E7Kux5
In India, devotees in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, set a Guinness World Record by lighting more than 2.22 million lamps and keeping them lit for 45 minutes.
In Pakistan, people offered prayers at the Shri Swaminarayan temple in Karachi, lit firecrackers, shared sweets and exchanged gifts.
In Sri Lanka, devotees lit and placed oil lamps in a religious ceremony during the Diwali festival at the Ponnambalavaneshwaram Hindu temple in Colombo.
In Britain, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who is Hindu, lit candles with his family outside 10 Downing Street before visiting the Vedic Society’s Hindu Temple in Southampton, England, for Diwali celebrations.