on November 26, 2015 by test_editor in Archive_2015, November, Print Articles, Comments Off on November 26, 2015: Hintonburg Celebrates Diwali; 8th Festival of Lights at Plant Pool.

November 26, 2015: Hintonburg Celebrates Diwali; 8th Festival of Lights at Plant Pool.

November 26, 2015: Hintonburg Celebrates Diwali;
8th Festival of Lights at Plant Pool.

By Anna Borris.

On Saturday, November 7, the Plant Bath’s Laurier Room was filled with adults and children who flooded in with enthusiasm to celebrate the community’s eighth annual Diwali festival.

One of the brightest and happiest of the Hindu festivals, Diwali, also known as the “Festival of Lights”, is an important celebration which spiritually signifies the victory of light over dark, and good over evil. It falls between mid-October and mid-November.

On Diwali night, Hindu families light lamps and candles inside and outside their homes, and participate in family prayers called pooja. Windows are opened, so that Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity can enter homes to bring good fortune. Fireworks usually follow, then a family feast takes place.

Pooja is an Indian religious ceremony, performed by Hindus to honour and worship one or more deities. Dev Sharma, a Hindu priest was present to greet everyone and conduct this ceremony for our local community.

The popular fusion dance group Bollywood for Fun always brings a smile to everyone’s face. The members of the group have strong backgrounds in belly dance, jazz, tango, contemporary and more. They provided a lively performance; then encouraged the audience to join them for a hilarious impromptu dance lesson.

City councillors Catherine McKenney and Jeff Leiper were in attendance, as well as Samir Bhatnagar, Ottawa Police Acting Superintendent. The evening’s MC was Ravi Philar, volunteer with the Hintonburg Economic Development Committee.

For many years, Rakesh Walia has been a major powerhouse behind the annual Diwali festivities. He is the owner of Indian Express Food and Sweets at 1000 Somerset St. W, next door to the Plant Bath.

In addition to being a generous donor, Rakesh’s restaurant provided heaping piles of onion bhajis and trays of delicious Indian sweets to the event. The food disappeared rapidly, washed down with large quantities of chai tea. Many of the guests were happy to bring a few bhajis home for Sunday lunch.

Volunteers from the Hintonburg Economic Development Committee and Transition House, among others, circulated among the guests, serving food, setting up and taking down tables and chairs and passing out raffle tickets. The lucky winner of the raffle went home with a box of sweets from Indian Express.

Afterwards, guests were invited next door to the courtyard at Indian Express. Everyone crowded around the fence, and giant sparklers which had been set upright on a table were lit, shooting their light into the night. A number of the smaller children were delighted to be given sparklers of their own. It is believed that the light and sparkle from fireworks and sparklers drive the evil away from themselves and their homes.

The Plant Pool Recreation Association and the Hintonburg Recreation Association were beneficiaries of $ 521.15 from the funds raised. Rakesh, Karuna and Ravi Walia kindly donated $300.00, and the donation box yielded $221.15.

This local Diwali festival is an excellent example of a community coming together to celebrate a cultural event, raise some money for a very worthwhile cause, appreciate some amazing entertainment, and simply enjoy an evening together.

For Web-Extra photo coverage of the Hintonburg Diwali Celebration,
visit Web-extra: (November 26, 2015): Photo Essay: 8th Hintonburg Diwali Celebration.

Photo Caption: Acting on behalf of the Plant Pool Recreation Association, Lorrie Marlow of the Hintonburg Economic Development Committee, accepts a cheque from Ravi Walia. Along with donations, the evening raised over $500. to benefit the PPRA.

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