With bright colours, dancing, music, and joyful attitudes, Diwali celebrations are taking place all over the world – including one held by the Township of Langley at the Muriel Arnason Library, Saturday, Oct. 26.
Translating to “a row of lights,” Diwali is the most widely celebrated Indian festival, and marks the victory of good over evil and the beginning of the New Year in India.
Festivities can last four to five days, with the bulk of activities this year occurring on Sunday, Oct. 27.
Sarwan Singh Randhawa, community librarian supervisor at Muriel Arnason, is the founder and organizer of this particular Diwali festival, having started it when he was employed at the Aldergrove Library in 2004.
“At that time, there were not very many multicultural activities in this area, and there was a need to start such activities that can help promote cultural awareness,” Randhawa explained. “For this celebration, we included several dances and other activities from different cultures that started a new trend in Langley.”
Randhawa said the details of the library’s Diwali event haven’t changed too much over the past 16 years, except for the occasional performer.
He said 500 people turn out to the celebration every year and expects the same numbers of guests filling up the library once again.
The event is free, open to all ages, and runs from 1 to 3 p.m. with crafts, facepainting, Native and Punjabi Bhangra dance performances and lessons, displays, and refreshments (samosas, pakoras, cookies, and coffee).
Henna artists will also be on site to design decorative patterns on people’s skin – a common tradition in Indian culture.
Randhawa said there is no need to bring anything except for an open mind.
“Diwali is a celebration of joy, light and happiness, and is associated with the victory of good over evil, as well as sharing, caring, forgiving, and loving sentiments,” Randhawa said. “Langley is a beautiful community, and if we can make it even better by celebrating such events together while learning from each other, it will be the best.”
For more information, people can call 604-532-3590 or drop in at the Muriel Arnason Library, located at 20338 65 Ave.
To his knowlege, Randhawa said there is not another comparable public Diwali event of a similair size and scope in Langley, but did say Aldergrove Library will hold a Diwali storytime and craft program on Wednesday, Oct. 23 at 10:30 a.m.
“I hope it’s contributing to making our community an even more welcoming place to live. The Diwali celebration offers local residents an opportunity to enjoy a variety of multicultural activities while learning about each other’s cultures,” Randhawa added.
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