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Indian diaspora celebrate Diwali, Bandi Chhor Divas across Canada

IANS | November 13, 2023 01:41 PM

By Vishal Gulati

CHANDIGARH: The Indian diaspora, mainly from Punjab, celebrated Diwali and Bandi Chhor Divas across Canada in a traditional way by bursting firecrackers despite municipalities of Brampton, Mississauga and Surrey tightened their rules and by paying obeisance at shrines.

The Hindu festival of lights, Diwali, coincides with Bandi Chhor Divas, the Sikh festival of liberation.

In a message, Punjab-origin Minister of Emergency Preparedness Harjit Sajjan said: “In a world that sometimes feels divided. These festivals remind us of the unity and inclusivity that can be found in Canada and beyond. Diwali and Bandi Chhor Divas are not limited to a singular religious or a cultural group.

"They are embraced by Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and many others. Each of us has a unique story to contribute to the Canadian identity…May these festivals inspire us to embrace unity, spread joy and uphold the spirit of togetherness in the face of division.”

In a message, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said: “As we mark Diwali, we also recognize the many contributions of Canadians from Hindu, Jain, Sikh, and Buddhist communities to our country’s cultural fabric, and we celebrate their role in making Canada the diverse and inclusive place we call home.

“On behalf of all Canadians, I wish everyone celebrating a very happy Diwali.”

Ahead of the festival of lights, Canada Post released a new stamp to mark Diwali -- the fifth year in a row to celebrate the festivities by issuing a special stamp.

On the occasion, Consulate General of India in Vancouver, Manish, visited Khalsa Dewan Society and offered prayers.

He addressed the ‘sangat’ and conveyed his greetings on Diwali and Bandi Chhor Divas.

The historic Bandi Chhor Diwas marks the release of 52 Hindu princes from the Gwalior fort by sixth Guru Hargobind Sahib on Diwali that is also celebrated as the sacred day.

Canadian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland greeted the diaspora by saying: “This is an occasion to remember that light can prevail over darkness. I hope you are able to celebrate with friends and family in peace and happiness!”

Iqra Khalid, MP for Mississauga, in a post on X wrote: “What a wholesome evening serving langar and celebrating Diwali and Bandi Chhor Divas with the Mississauga-Erin Mills Sikh and Hindu community at Shiromani Sikh Sangat. Thank you for including me!”

Mayor of Brampton Patrick Brown celebrated the festivals by saying, “Diwali and Bandhi Chhor Divas is a time to gather with family and friends, and neighbours”.

He participated in Brampton's first-ever Diwali mela that saw 20, 000 plus attendees who enjoyed an evening of performances from Punjabi singer Malkit Singh where delicious food and, of course, Canada’s largest dazzling Diwali fireworks were displayed.

With 800, 000 Sikhs calling Canada home, the largest Sikh diaspora, the roots of the first Sikh in the Northern American nation dating back to the 1800s.

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