COVID-19 restrictions putting out the light of Diwali in Edmonton

·1 min read

New COVID-19 restrictions are dampening Diwali celebrations, a day before they are set to begin.

Diwali — the multi-faith festival of lights — is celebrated by many in the South Asian diaspora, and is usually a time of family get-togethers.

Now, the number of people allowed to attend faith-based gatherings in Edmonton and other COVID-19 hot spots will be limited to a third of the building's capacity.

The Hindu Society of Alberta has a temple in the Hindu Cultural Centre, 14225 133rd Ave.

Society president Renu Nerang says it will be hard for families not to gather.

"It's really depressing for people," Nerang said in an interview on CBC Radio's Edmonton AM.

"That's the way we get together ... When you share then you're more happy."

The Hindu society's temple has been operating at a reduced capacity for a while, so the new restrictions won't change too much for their day-to-day.

Nerang said people are missing the social and spiritual connection. Usually, the temple is bustling with people of all ages coming and going. Now, it's mostly just board members who are visiting.

Diwali is a multi-day celebration.

"There's so much parties that go on, there's so much fundraisers that go on usually at this time of the year. Nothing's happening so people are really, really missing on that," she said.

The temple will still be open over the weekend and Nerang said she's expecting 60 or 70 people to come and go throughout the day Saturday.