After Covid-19 prevented the traditional celebration of Diwali last year amid restrictions and closures, the Indo-Canadian community marked the festival this year with fireworks as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau s joined in the festivities at an event in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
Fireworks for Diwali have been permitted this year in several municipalities, including those in the GTA such as Brampton. Trudeau, along with National Defense Minister Anita Anand, joined a celebration in the city on Thursday.
“This joyous holiday celebrates the triumph of light over darkness – good over evil and good over evil – and the power of freedom, hope and knowledge. On this special occasion, families and friends usually gathered to feast, exchange gifts and pray, as they lit up their homes with diyas,” Trudeau said in a message released by his office.
Anand, who became the first Hindu to feature in the federal cabinet when she was appointed in 2019, also wished those celebrating on Twitter. “It’s a time to celebrate light over darkness, good over evil. May your day be bright and beautiful! She wrote.
Trudeau also sent his regards to Bandi Chhor Divas, saying, “This celebration is also a reminder of the values Canadians hold dear – freedom, inclusion and respect. This gives us the opportunity to thank Canadians of the Sikh faith for their contribution to our country and to learn more about their traditions.
International Development Minister Harjit Sajjan also tweeted his well wishes: “As the diyas illuminate our homes, we remember the triumph of light over darkness.”
In-person celebrations were possible this year, as the Public Health Agency of Canada had previously released guidelines for small gatherings of fully vaccinated people.
Although the community celebrated, they were careful to institute measures such as social distancing. Brampton resident Milan Patel said: “The restrictions have opened up which is kind of a relief for the community. These are not big or grand celebrations, just on a smaller scale, but hopefully next year things will be closer to normal.
Canada Post has also issued a special commemorative stamp to mark Diwali this year. Designed by Seung Jai Paek, it is layered with a Rangoli pattern and features a lotus, symbolizing a new beginning, which forms both the outline and the inset, as well as a ring of heart-shaped diyas expressing happiness. love and gratitude; and a spice box in the center alluding to the food shared during the Festival of Lights.