Ken Herar

What is Diwali?

The annual event in Mission attracts close to 1,000 guests, and features food and dance

Organizers are working hard putting final preparations together to celebrate Diwali on Oct. 11 at the Clarke Theatre from 5-9 p.m.

The community cultural celebration attracts close to 1,000 guests, who are entertained culturally through food and dance. I recall going to Diwali celebrations locally with current chair Rick Rake many years ago, when it was done in a small simple classroom.

The free event year after year has grown mainstream attracting several business organizations, marking its footprints in the entire community and leaving a lasting legacy.

It brings a large cross-sectional of our diverse community together breaking any perceived barriers that may exist and we are better because of it.

There are 20 sponsors, 21 commercial and community booths and some amazing stage acts.

So what is Diwali or the Festival of Lights as it also is referred too? Diwali, the Hindu festival is India’s biggest and most important holiday of the year. The festival gets its name from the row (avali) of clay lamps (deepa) that people light outside their homes to symbolize the inner light that protects us from spiritual darkness.

by Ken Herar

Columnist

There will be two hours of live entertainment from various groups with a free ethnic buffet dinner. There will also be a marketplace where patrons can purchase Indian goods, have their hands painted by a henna artist and learn how to tie a turban, which is always a ton of fun and an educational experience everyone should have.

Kudos to businesses like Mission Save-On-Foods for stepping up and donating food for the tasty buffet, which is always an attraction for Indian food lovers.

“I am happy to support such a worthy cultural celebration that brings people together from all corners of our community,” said Save-On-Foods manager Dawn Haig.

There will be also loads of sweets and 1,200 samosas for guests to enjoy that have been generously donated by local businesses. To wash it all down, 1,000 bottles of water were donated by Abbotsford Costco. The meals will be cooked at Abbotsford Sikh Temple and transported back by truck to Heritage Park Centre cafeteria.

Rake, who has been working tirelessly over the past four months said, “I am a 31-year resident of Mission and former newspaper editor who cares about cultural competency and harmony in the community. I am chair of the Festival of Light: Diwali organizing committee for the second year as coordinator of the Mission Local Immigration Partnership which is based at Mission Community Services Society. The contributions made to understanding among all peoples and their cultures are valuable and important in our community.”

“ The fun, family-friendly festival helps Mission become a more engaging, cohesive and knowledgeable community in cultural diversity, “ said Sanjay Gulati, executive director of Mission Community Services Society.

Other events:

Mission’s Stone Soup Collaborative presents “Us and Them” a documentary as part of Homeless Awareness Week. The film brings awareness and shatters misconceptions about why people end up on the streets. Admission is by donation on Oct. 10 from 630-830 p.m. at the Clarke Theatre.

kenherar@gmail.com