After the tragic deaths of soldier Patrice Vincent in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and of Nathan Cirillo in Ottawa, celebration of Diwali, the festival of lights, peace, prosperity and progress injected a ray of hope and happiness in the lives of the people of Richmond.
“Richmond is proud to be an inclusive community, where cultures from all over the world live together in harmony. Diwali is a great opportunity for all of us to celebrate the diversity that makes Richmond unique and a great place to live,” said Mayor Malcolm Brodie.
Whether it was the first time for the residents of Richmond joining in the Diwali festivities or they had been celebrating this festival all their lives, they all were invited to this fun-filled and literally priceless community celebration.
This event opened with the auspicious ceremony of lighting Diyas by Mayor Brodie, Minister Alice Wong, Speaker Linda Reid and individuals representing Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism, Christianity and Islam followed by a peace chant from one of the Upanishadas. October 25, 2014 being Saturday, the day of Sabbath no one from the Jewish faith could join the festivity.
David Larson and his student Tiana Lam moved the event forward with spiritual music on violin, followed by Kaori, Reiko, Mami and Yoko of Satsuki Kai Group. They performed Japanese folk dances — celebrating spring, “The Moon over the Ruined Castle” and lovely umbrella dance from Hokkaido.
Devika Vishwanath, a grade 11 student and the National Science Fair gold medalist, who is aiming to become a physicist or engineer, gave her spiritually calming Mohiniyattam Classical dance performance from the state of Kerala, Indian.
Rena Boggaram, a school teacher and also a well trained dancer by Kumudini Lakhia (Manchester, UK) and by Jai Govinda Dance Academies and her Kiruthika Rathanaswami, once featured as the lead dancer in the documentary film, “The Great Night of Shiva” and a recipient of the 2012 City of Vancouver “The Mayor’s Art Award” gave their stunning classical performances of Katthak and Bharata Natyam respectively.
The Shiamak Vancouver Dance Team, its local students and members of the Shiamak Victory Arts Foundation, who have given many exciting, energising and therapeutic “Dance for Good” performances at the GF Strong Rehab Centre, St. Michael’s Hospice, Canucks Place, Ronald McDonald House and many more institutions, gave our Diwali audience a breath taking performance. They pulled almost every junior and senior, man and woman off his chair to join them. This surprise inter-active dance was very revealing to me. I noticed individuals on the floor showing their moves I had never imagined they could or would.
The Master of Ceremonies Shachi Kurl between performances. Alan Hill and Aparna Kurl narrated the story of Rama’s fourteen-year-exile sanctioned by his cunning and cold hearted step mother.
They also described the festivities people of his kingdom organised to welcome Rama’s back home, which became known as the festival of lights — Diwali.
The event was also endorsed by the Canadian Race Relations Foundation for bringing people together and encouraging people to learn from their neighbours’ cultural traditions. The festive event ended, as it ought to have with good food and drinks (non-alcoholic); courtesy of Save On Foods.