Festival of lights marked with scaled-back celebration

·2 min read

For Timmins resident Adarsh Neelam, who has been celebrating Diwali since he was a little kid, the lights lit up during the festival always make him happy.

Last Saturday, Nov. 6, some members of the Indian community in Timmins gathered to celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights.

In the past, Diwali was celebrated at Northern College with hundreds of people attending.

This year’s celebration was scaled back as a safety precaution amid the pandemic.

About 25 adults and children gathered to mark Diwali. Most of the people wore traditional clothing, Neelam said.

The celebration started with a traditional prayer to the goddess Lakshmi. Then, they lit up the candles and lights. A rangoli with powder colours and candles was made as a decoration. The families cooked a variety of vegetarian dishes, decorated the houses and trees with coloured lights and shared traditional stories with each other.

They also burned sparklers with the kids so they know about the importance of the festival, Neelam said.

“Always, the lights make you happy, feel happy. The crackers and the lights,” he said. "It's also an opportunity to spruce up the home, buy new clothes. Feasting and exchanging gifts also happens."

Diwali or Deepavali is one of the largest holidays celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists in India and around the world. The celebrations usually last for five days.

The festival celebrates the victory of light over darkness and good over evil. Its name derives from the Sanskrit work dipavali meaning “row of lights.”

“I know a couple of schools in Cochrane and Timmins, where some of the kids go, celebrated Diwali this year. Some of my friends mentioned to me that everybody in class wished Happy Diwali and stuff,” Neelam said.

Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, TimminsToday.com

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