Diwali At City Hall
Diwali, a Sanskrit word meaning “rows of lighted lamps”, is a national festival in India that is celebrated by everyone, regardless of faith.
Since 2012, Diwali at Hamilton’s City Hall has been an annual celebration organized by the Hindu Samaj Women Outreach Group (HS-WOG). The event is a celebration of good over evil, harmony over the conflict that fosters cordial and inclusive relationships in the city of Hamilton. Each year, the Diwali celebration has a different theme that is showcased. Themes in previous years have included Turbans of India, Daughters of India, Diversity of Indian regions and Integration of Diverse Cultures to celebrate Canda 150. In 2017, we focused on new and sixty years of established immigrants. In conjunction with the theme, the event features cultural elements including traditional dancing, singing, dramatic skits and yoga.
For this year, the Diwali Celebration is scheduled for October 20, 2018 and the theme is “Integration of Diverse Cultures”. This is an all-day event in Hamilton’s City Hall with guest speakers, dancers, singers and story-telling. Throughout the venue, there will be booths and displays featuring photographic essays of Canada and India, displays highlighting various regions of India and different ethnic communities of Hamilton. Displays and presentations will be used to showcase the individuality and similarity of the dances of multiculturalism. There will be highlights of Canadian life experiences of second- and third-generation immigrants and their assimilation in the Canadian multicultural mosaic.
The day is open to everyone. In the past years, noted guests have included the Mayors of Hamilton MPP Bob Bratina(2012 to2014), Mayor Fred Eisenberger and MPP Monique Taylor the general public. The event is advertised through community announcements in the Hamilton Spectator newspaper, Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board and on cable 14, the local specialty channel serving the Hamilton and Haldimand communities. In addition to the above noted, outreach to community members and community organizations is done via emails and social media (https://www.facebook.com/HSWOG) to seek their collaboration.
There are months of planning and preparation leading up to the Diwali Celebration. A choreographer will be hired to help women, men, children, and seniors choreograph dances to showcase throughout that day. Invitations will be extended to other cultural groups such as the Ahmadiyya Muslim Women Association and the South Asian Heritage Group to showcase their traditional dances and cultural practices.
Diwali at Hamilton’s City Hall is a well-attended and successful event, every year drawing a larger audience and community participation. Part of the day’s success is due to the support received from the youth in the community who volunteer their time to help with organizing the event. This helps build their leadership skills and counts towards their volunteer hours for their school credit.
Diwali at Hamilton’s City Hall is an event that is open to everyone. It is a family-friendly event that is non-discriminatory and welcoming of all faiths, backgrounds, and cultures.
This event in years past has been successful in encouraging children, youth, women, and new immigrants to participate and show their talents to the community at large. Invitations are extended to other community organizations such as Senior Seva Mandal and South Asian Heritage Association inviting them to display their culture and traditions at this event.