What is Diwali and how is the festival of lights celebrated?

Oct 24 2023, 8:25 pm

Diwali, one of the most colourful and important dates on the Indian calendar, is being celebrated across Metro Vancouver this fall.

India’s biggest and most important holiday is celebrated globally and falls on Sunday, November 12 this year. It is a time for families to come together for food, fireworks and fun.

But what exactly is the Festival of Lights all about? We’ve put together a handy explainer to help you get ready for the festivities this year.

Diwali Fest

What is Diwali?

Diwali is celebrated worldwide, and the word means “row of lighted lamps.” Light symbolizes the triumph of good over evil, prosperity over poverty, and knowledge over ignorance. It brings together people of all backgrounds to celebrate “the universal light that exists in everyone.”

diwali vancouver


How is Diwali celebrated?

Diwali is for everybody. The five-day festival is a time for lighting diyas, eating exquisite meals, and celebrating with dance, music, and storytelling.

If you want to celebrate Diwali in true fashion, here are some steps you can follow:

  • Clean your house – it’s considered lucky
  • Decorate your home with clay lamps, and candles
  • Buy new clothes (seriously – it’s an excuse to go shopping!)
  • Eat decadent sweets and salty snacks
  • Exchange thoughtful gifts
  • Create rangoli (colourful patterns in entranceways)
diwali sweets


Diwali in Vancouver

Diwali festivities are held across Metro Vancouver each year and have become a beloved cross-cultural event. A highlight for 2023 is the 20th anniversary of Diwali Fest, with Indian wedding-themed festivities that everyone is invited to.

There are multiple events bringing delicious food and live performances to Downtown Vancouver, Burnaby, Coquitlam, and Surrey. Get ready to enjoy dance, interactive art exhibits, and more.

Diwali Fest

Diwali Fest/Facebook

Diwali Fest 2023

When: October 26 and 29, and November 3 and 5, 2023
Time: Various times
Where: Various locations, check the website for details
Cost: Free or by donation

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