Diwali or Deepavali is, as described on Wiki, popularly known as the festival of lights. It is an important five-day festival in Hinduism, Sikhism and Jainism, occurring between mid-October and mid-November. For most of the hindus/Indians and working class, this is the biggest festival and the day when they want to be with their families and perform the prayers together in their homes.
The name Diwali is a contraction of the word Deepavali, which translates into row of lamps. Diwali involves the lighting of small clay lamps (diyas) filled with oil to signify the triumph of good over evil. During Diwali celebrants wear new clothes and share sweets and snacks with family members and friends. Some Indian business communities begin the financial year on the first day of Diwali, hoping for prosperity the following year. In Hinduism, Deepavali marks the return of Lord Rama to his kingdom of Ayodhya after defeating (the demon king) Ravana, the ruler of Lanka, in the epic Ramayana. In Jainism, Diwali marks the attainment of moksha by Mahavira in 527 BC. In Sikhism, Deepavali commemorates the return of Guru Har Gobind Ji to Amritsar after freeing 52 Hindu kings imprisoned in Fort Gwalior by Emperor Jahangir; the people lit candles and diyas to celebrate his return. This is the reason Sikhs also refer to Deepavali as Bandi Chhorh Divas, “the day of release of detainees”. Deepavali is considered a national festival in India and Nepal. They never start Deepavali in debt.
Celebrating Diwali in Vancouver
Vancouver Celebrates Diwali returns in 2010, with an even largest edition ever. Here’s a list of of our events taking place at venues across Vancouver from November 2 – 7.
As reported on the official website for Diwali in Vancouver on http://www.vandiwali.ca/events/
Opening Ceremonies: On Tuesday November 2 at 3:45 pm in City Hall’s Council chambers. Hosted by The City of Vancouver and His Honor Mayor Gregor Robertson, this annual ceremony marks the City’s recognition of this important holiday, and opens our city-sponsored festival with some pomp and panache.
Diwali Downtown: On Sunday November 7 from 12 pm – 6 p m at the Roundhouse Community Centre. Sponsored by Coast Capital Savings, the main event of this year’s festival sees a dramatic increase in our programming as we take over the entire Roundhouse! With admission free of charge and events taking place on multiple stages, we promise a dizzying array of talent and spectacle. Artists for this day-long event include:
* Scheherazaad Cooper: Classical Odissi dancer and the face of the VCD 2010 poster.
* Bollywood Shenanigans: One of Vancouver’s funniest comedy troupes takes on the film genre that they’re named after. Tickets $5.
* Mohamed Assani: Straight from the UK, a world-renowned sitarist making his Vancouver debut.
* Pocket Bhangra iPhone Orchestra: Exactly what you think it is. Hear what your iPhone is really capable of.
* Shan E Punjab: Always a favorite with our audiences, this youth dance team keeps you wanting more.
* Fusion Drummers – Taiko Meets Dhol: A first-time ever collaboration between four of Vancouver’s finest drum artists.
* Vidyasagar Vankayala: Carnatic rhythms with this favorite quartet playing extended sets.
* BPM: Some of Vancouver’s finest hip hop and fusion beats.
* Aarti Pole: Classical Kathak dancer featuring solo pieces and a duet with Flamenco dancer Nanako Aramaki.
* Shamik Bilgi & Ajay Kapur: The human beatbox meets the electric sitar in an explosive jam session.
* Shiamak Indo-Jazz: Long known as one of Vancouver’s hottest Indian dance troupes.
* Babukishan Das Baul: This charming performer brings his band that’s toured the world.
* Lady Garba: New Vancouver dance troupe led by Raakhi Sinha.
* Ta-Ki-Ta: Classical Indian music meets Jazz meets Celtic rhythms in a unique fusion.
* Eric Hamber Dance: Over 20 secondary students strut their stuff.
* UBC Girlz: Always a fan favorite, this boisterous bhangra team dazzles with color and movement.
Other exciting activities during Diwali Downtown include:
* Massive Rangoli: A room-sized rangoli designed by Whitney Krueger will be built by the audience one bucket full at a time.
* Bhangra/Dhol Workshops: Come shake your stuff with instructors Raakhi Sinha and Gurpreet Sian.
* Visual Arts Exhibit: Featuring an eclectic display by artists Uma Sharda, Sundeep Thinda, Raymon Maliwat and Lotus Eye.
* Mehndi: Henna artist Nazil Kara and her daughters return to bejewl your hands and fingers with this ancient art.
* Diya painting: Always a favorite for the young and young at heart.
* Face painting: Come to the Coast Capital Savings tent and get an emblematic Diwali image painted on your face.