WATCH: Diwali is celebrated by many on Vancouver Island and millions around the world. Ceilidh Millar reports.
Arya Mittal, a dancer with Baalmandir Victoria, has been practicing his performance for the Diwali Cultural Show for weeks with his team.
The nine-year-old performed a traditional dance on Saturday to honour one of the most important days in his culture.
“Diwali is the festival of light when the good defeated the evil,” explained Mittal.
Hundreds of people packed the UVic Farquhar Auditorium for the annual show put on by the Victoria Hindu Parishad and Cultural Centre.
It’s one of the biggest Diwali celebrations on Vancouver Island.
The show featured traditional music, dancing, and food provided by Royal Spice.
“The Diwali show is a big platform for us to show our talents,” said dancer Manika Dhawan. “It’s a festival and we all celebrate it together.”
Although Diwali is one of the most sacred days in Hinduism, the holiday which is celebrated over many days, extends to other religions across many regions.
“The festival is celebrated by everyone across India in every region,” explained event organizer Binita Sondagar. “It is a combination of our Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.”
In essence, the festival commemorates the victory of good over evil and light over darkness.
The spiritual significance is one that resonates across many cultures.
“My friend and I are going to India in two weeks,” said one audience member. “The [show] has really put us in the spirit.”
“I always love it,” said another attendee. “I just wish I could get up there and dance with them but I’m too old!”
Organizers are hoping to raise money to build a new temple for the community to enjoy.
“We are looking to collect funds to purchase land and hopefully build a new temple,” said Sondagar.
For more information on Diwali and future events, visit Victoria Hindu Parishad and Cultural Centre.