The Lower Mainland celebrates the Diwali Festival every autumn with East Indian cultural celebrations taking place in Vancouver, Surrey and elsewhere.
Diwali Festival in Metro Vancouver
Festivities in 2017 run from October 1st until the 17th.
The two of the biggest events during the festival are Diwali Downtown Vancouver (on October 14th) and Diwali Downtown Surrey (on October 1st). Other Diwali Fest events take place throughout the region and include plays, storytelling, music and dance performances.
Some Diwali Fest events only attract a couple of dozen people or so, but the Surrey event attracts one or two hundred, and the Vancouver one even more.
What is Diwali Fest?
An annual Hindu festival celebrated in the fall sometime between mid-October and mid-November, Diwali is one of the largest and most important festivals in India.
In Vancouver the Diwali Celebration Society hosts Diwali Fest with the aim of uniting people from different cultures through celebratory events.
Diwali Fest is an arts and culture festival that provides an opportunity to experience different elements of South Asian culture. Spread out over the month and a half across the Lower Mainland, it’s a fair-sized festival overall, made up of smaller individual events, some of which are free or by donation.
Numerous events take place over the course of Diwali Fest, including two main ones – Diwali Downtown Vancouver and Diwali Downtown Surrey. Both are free events (or by donation) and feature dance performances, live music, ethnic foods and a wide variety of both contemporary and classical Indian and South Asian culture.
Diwali Downtown Vancouver
Diwali Downtown Vancouver takes place at the Roundhouse at 181 Roundhouse Mews in Yaletown. In 2017 it happens on October 14th from 3 to 7 pm and activities include a variety of live music and dance performances.
Diwali Downtown is the largest of the festival’s various free (and by donation) events. It generally offers the most performances, selection of vendor stalls and exhibits. There is also usually a bit of food to sample too.
At the event expect to be entertained by a selection of dancers and musicians, and to immerse yourself in a bit of East Indian culture. The experience is very interesting.
Not all performers at the event are of East Indian decent or origin. The performances themselves, however, are from or at least strongly influenced by the Indian subcontinent.
Diwali Downtown Surrey
Diwali Downtown Surrey takes place at Surrey City Hall at 13450-104th Avenue on October 1st from 3 to 6 pm. It also features a variety of culturally-rich programming with interactive and multicultural performances.
Diwali Downtown Surrey is free and includes activities of interest for all ages. It’s not a huge event, attracting less than around 200 people at any given time. It features about a dozen vendors and community organization information booths though, along with live entertainment in the city council chambers.
Typical entertainment at Diwali Downtown Surrey includes belly dancing, singing, various Indian dance performances and sari-wearing demonstrations.
For more information about Diwali Fest, including event dates and other venues, check out the Diwali Celebration Society website.
For other opportunities to experience great cultural activities in the Lower Mainland, check out Vancouver’s best places for Culture and History.