Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights was celebrated last month on October 23rd. Known as the most important festival in India, it gets its name from the row of lamps that are lit outside of people’s houses symbolizing light over darkness; to spread good over evil.
As celebrations increase in popularity each year, it’s no surprise that South Asians are always ready to party with style! In Vancouver, one such event, called Diwali Fest’s Diwali Downtown, brought together hundreds of people along with the biggest and best entertainment in our local South Asian community at The Roundhouse Community Centre on Saturday, October 25th.
I spoke to Priyanka Parkash, Board Member of Diwali Fest since 2012, to find out more.
What makes Diwali Fest so unique?
We are unique because we make it a goal to integrate as many different communities as we can, and to actively engage people in the education of Indian culture. This year we chose the theme ‘Unity In Diversity’, as the true essence of Diwali is bringing people together, no matter where they are from. We create a great platform for local South Asian talent, and we bring the best artists together under one roof. Majority of our events, including Diwali Downtown are free to the general public, or otherwise by donation which makes it easier for them to attend.
What should people expect from Diwali Downtown?
People can expect to have a blast! Diwali Downtown attracts all kinds of people, and we have something for every age group. We have the best in live entertainment, including a performance by local band NaQsh, a Flamenco Dance Group, The Shiamak Vancouver Dance Team, classical dance, bhangra dancing, cooking classes, sari tying competitions, henna art, food carts, Rangoli, and much more!
What are your hopes for the upcoming years for Diwali Fest?
We started off as a one-day, not for profit event that was completely volunteer – driven. Today, with the immense support from our community, we are hosting our 11th year with professional staff. With this kind of response, our goal is to expand to different areas of our community, and to be the main brand of Diwali celebrations in Vancouver. As far as entertainment goes, we hope to involve theatre as an art form for next year’s event lineup.
Diwali Fest is always looking for energetic, and community – driven volunteers to be a part of their organization. For more information, visit www.diwalifest.ca