Richmond Multicultural Community Services (RMCS) had an excellent celebration on Monday, November 26 at Richmond Cultural Centre. This festive occasion was organized to celebrate not only Diwali but also Sikhism’s founder Guru Nanak Dev ji’s birth anniversary as well as Eid al-Adha.
Diwali is celebrated throughout the world by the South Asian Community. It is a celebration of the return of Hindu god Rama to his capital city Ajodhya after serving 14 years in exile. People of his kingdom were very excited to see their king return to his capital city. They lit up earthen lamps with a wick and oil in them all around the city, distributed sweets and had fireworks. This tradition has been carried on by the Hindus since then. For the Sikhs, Diwali coincides with the Bandi Chhore Divas. Devotees of the Sikh faith celebrate this festival as their sixth guru, Guru Hargobind ji, was released from an unfairly imposed imprisonment along with 52 other rulers. Upon his arrival in Amritsar, headquarters of Sikhism, people celebrated with a great deal of enthusiasm. They did this by lighting earthen lamps all around the city, distributing sweets and fireworks.
For Jainism, Diwali marks the attainment of nirvana (salvation) by its founder Mahavir in 527 BC. This event was also a celebration of Eid al Adha. Named Feast of Sacrifice, this event is also called Greater Eid, Kurban Bayram and Bakrid. It is celebrated by the Muslims all around the globe. Eid al Adha honours the willingness of the prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his first-born young son, Ishmael, as an act of submission to God’s command and his son’s acceptance, before God intervened to provide Abraham with a lamb to sacrifice instead.
The diverse audience enjoyed multicultural entertainment and delicious South Asian delicacies. The guests included Councillor Bill McNulty and Mayor Malcolm Brodie, who brought greetings from the City. Celebrations like these go a long way in promoting intercultural harmony.
Balwant Sanghera is the Director, Richmond Multicultural Community Services.