Every fall (between mid-October and mid-November), Vancouver celebrates Diwali, the Festival of Lights.
Diwali is the biggest festival in India and is celebrated world-wide by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains. Each day of the festival has a different "theme," while the festival as whole is a celebration of life, goodness and enjoyment. Vancouver Diwali celebrations are warm and welcoming; everyone is welcome to join the party!
Vancouver Diwali Celebrations & Events
The biggest Vancouver Diwali celebration is the annual Vancouver Celebrates Diwali Festival (VCDF), organized by the Diwali Celebration Society. Started in 2004, the VCDF is a week-long festival that celebrates Diwali as well as South Asian arts and culture. The 2016 VCDF runs from October 28 - November 7, 2016, and includes live performances, art exhibitions, workshops, and their main event, Diwali Downtown.
Like last year, there will be two huge Diwali Downtown celebrations in 2016: Diwali Downtown Vancouver and Diwali Downtown Surrey.
Diwali Downtown Vancouver on Saturday, October 29, is Vancouver's biggest Diwali party. Held at the Roundhouse Community Centre in Yaletown, Downtown Diwali attracts thousands and features multiple live performances on its main stage, plus food and crafts. The event is free, though donations are welcome.
Diwali Downtown in Surrey on Saturday, November 5 is held outside Surrey's City Hall. This huge, free celebration includes music and dance performances and an Indian bazaar featuring South Asian crafts and food.
Diwali Workshops at Vancouver Community Centres
As part of the VCDF and Vancouver Diwali celebrations, three Vancouver community centers will host all-ages Diwali workshops, which include lessons on diya painting, sari wrapping, mehndi hand tattoos, and Bollywood dancing.
To find details on the workshops, go to the Vancouver Diwali Events website.
Celebrating Diwali in Vancouver's Little India / Punjabi Market
Unlike the annual Vancouver Vaisakhi Parade, the Vancouver Diwali celebrations don't take place in Vancouver's Little India (Punjabi Market). However, it's still worth a trip to Little India--the heart of Vancouver's Indo-Canadian community--to purchase your Diwali necessities: the shops there have everything from diyas, rangolis and authentic saris to Indian groceries, fashion, and jewelry.