Diwali: The Fourth of July of South-Asia


Indian spices are going to be used in abundance in the coming days as Diwali is celebrated across Canada, and particularly in the Toronto area. (Julia Pelish/

Story by Arjun Sehgal Social Media Consultant

TORONTO, ONTARIO — When they say festival of lights, they mean festival of lights.

Diwali, aka Deepavali, aka the Festival of Lights marks the beginning of the new year for farmers who plant their crops after this annual holiday, as well as for business people and merchants who traditionally settle all accounts on their fiscal calendar and begin the new financial year. Every where that it is celebrated, Diwali signifies the renewal of life. It is equal parts New Year’s Eve celebrations and Fourth of July luminescence.

In preparation of the big day, families clean their houses from top to bottom, an act of cleansing meant to welcome wealth into the home. All rooms in the house are lit up with electricity, diyas, candles and lanterns — hence the name “festival of lights.”

Diwali is a the time to pray for the new or just about anything that can brighten up one’s home and life. In addition to lights, the festivities consist of all sorts of South-Asian vegetarian food, sweets, and individual and collective prayers. Family and friends are welcomed to each other’s houses to celebrate Diwali, where offerings are made and candles are lit to celebrate good over evil.

In Canada, there will be Diwali events and fireworks at cultural centres, parks, temples and homes. Celebrated among the faiths of Hindu, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains in South-Asia, the West Indies and across the world, Diwali is especially significant in Toronto. As one of the world’s most diverse cities, Toronto and its surrounding areas have large and significant Diwali celebrations. South-Asian communities celebrate the holiday throughout the country, but there are few places in the world where Diwali is as significant for expatriates as Canada’s largest city.

Although this year the holiday is marked on Tuesday, November 13, there are events happening in the days before and after the occasion.

Here are some listings of some Diwali events across the Greater Toronto Area:

Diwali Dhamaka 2012
Date: Saturday, November 10, 2012
Venue: Sagan Banquet Hall, 7180 Edwards Blvd., Mississauga, Ontario
Hosted by: KC Group
Website :

Diwali Doom Dhamaka 2012
Date: Saturday, November 10, 7 pm
Venue: Grand Taj Banquets, 6915 Dixie Road, Mississauga, Ontario
Hosted by: K. Biradari
Website :

Diwali Celebrations & Govardhan Puja
Date: Wednesday, November 14
Venue: Unit 19, 20, 21, 1030 Kamato Road, Mississauga, Ontario
Hosted by: ISKCON Brampton
Websites: and

Diwali 2012 & Chopada Pujan & Laxmi Puja (Grand Fireworks)
Date: Tuesday, November 13
Venue: Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, 61 Claireville Drive, Toronto, Ontario
Hosted by: BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir

Diwali & Annakut Celebrations 2012
Date: Wednesday, November 14, 7:30 am-6 pm
Venue: Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, 61 Claireville Drive, Toronto, Ontario
Hosted by: BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir
Website: and

Diwali Side Walk Sales 2012
Date: Saturday, November 10-Sunday, November 11 (noon-10 pm each day)
Venue: Gerrard India Bazaar, 1426 Gerrard Street East, Toronto, Ontario
Hosted by: Gerrard India Bazaar (Little India)

Richmond Hill – Mayor’s Diwali Celebration 2012
Date: Friday, November 23
Venue: Sheraton Parkway Hotel – Grand York Ballroom, 600 Highway 7 East, Richmond Hill, Ontario
Hosted by: Town of Richmond Hill
Website: and

Elsewhere in Southern Ontario

Diwali Dhamaka 2012
Date: Saturday, November 17 (4 pm)
Venue: London, Ontario
Hosted by: Srishti Canada

While studying at the University of Toronto, Arjun built and excelled his knowledge and experiences in social media marketing, project and event management and public relations. Arjun often provides consultation on social media strategy, creative possibilities and web marketing on up-to-date information for professionals or organizations to improve their online presence. In addition he has studied in Berlin, Germany and travelled across Europe, Southeast Asia and North America. His plans are to travel all of South Asia and Latin America. He can be reached at


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