A celebration of light

Diwali festivities planned for Oct. 29 at Clarke Theatre

The stage is set for Mission’s Diwali: A Festival of Lights celebration on Oct. 29.

“Diwali,” explained Kusum Soni, festival coordinator, “celebrates the victory of good over evil in Hindu faith.”

Lights are a symbol for hope, and for Soni, the festival indicates a change of season. Diwali happens after the monsoon season in India when houses usually need to be cleaned up and repaired, she said. The days get darker and lights have to be lit, she added.

“Traditionally, one day before Diwali, people buy new utensils, maybe a spoon. Some people buy new clothes, and some people exchange gifts, like Christmas.”

Sweets are also made and presented to guests to wish them a good year ahead.

There will be lots of sweets at the Mission celebration at the Clarke Theatre, said Soni, noting volunteers from the Sikh Temple and the Rotary Club will be busy in the kitchen cooking up the treats. There will also be a vegetarian feast prepared for the evening.

Mission Community Services Society’s multicultural department, which Soni is a part of, are the main organizers, but it is a community event. Last year about 1,000 guests attended.

“We’re inclusive,” said Soni, explaining the district, local businesses, service groups and churches have all been invited to take part in the celebration.

The event will feature traditional music and dances in the theatre and children’s activities in the foyer. Participants can also go home with a henna tattoo or a diya painting (clay candle holders).

The Diwali celebration takes place from 5 to 9 p.m. at 33700 Prentis Ave. on Tuesday, Oct. 29. The event is free, but attendees are encouraged to bring donations of non-perishable foods or cash to support the Mission Community Services Food Centre.

For more information about the event, call 604-826-3634.